"We started a picket at the nail salon to demand he stop transferring assets and pay the workers now. We held a press conference to send out a message and launched boycott but he still continued to do this and not pay the workers. We got the judgment but we cannot collect money. Workers don't have protection under the law and the law is only helping the rich people."
In one lawsuit brought by WJCNY on behalf of 106 food processing employees, the workers were unable to collect the final $100,000 of the $250,000 settlement after the defendant ceased paying according to the settlement agreement. After the plaintiffs successfully obtained a judgment for the remaining wages owed, the defendant owner closed the defendant corporation and upon the sale of the company’s remaining assets, transferred all its proceeds to another corporate entity held by a relative of the owner of the defendant corporation, which was not named in the original lawsuit. If the reforms proposed by bill no. A5501 had already been in place, the 106 employees may have been able to claim all the wages due to them by successfully attaching and preventing the sale of defendants’ assets.
"I thought the Department of Labor was so lazy and that they don't care about workers. I was thinking, what are they doing? What are they doing with all that time and with all these cases? Why don't they send my case to the Attorney General's office? My experience with the lawsuit was bad too- my boss declared bankruptcy. He tried to shut down the restaurant. He was lying to the court, even his bankruptcy was fake. We cannot collect the back wages, everything we were owed. I felt very angry because its not the truth. The bankruptcy was fake- me and my co-workers knew they they have a condominium, have 4 stores and he wrote a book "Hire the American Dream" and he makes a millions of dollars a year and he's a favorite of the corporation. And they do that because its very easy to declare bankruptcy."
"In one of our current cases, we represent a group of four carwash workers who are owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and overtime. The case has been pending before the Eastern District of New York for three years, during which time the employer has been able to dissipate his assets. We are very confident of a judgment in favor of the workers, but fear that our clients’ quest for justice will be fruitless, since the employer will have successfully hidden his assets."
In a case that LatinoJustice PRLDEF and AALDEF won against the restaurant chain Kum Gang San, we secured a judgment in favor of Korean and Latino workers for $2.67 million, yet have been unable to collect as a result of defendants’ transfer of assets to avoid paying workers what they are owed. 2 The SWEAT bill, which was introduced by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, will expand existing mechanisms in New York law to better help workers collect the wages they are owed. Many low-wage workers, including Latino workers throughout the state, continue to be exploited by scrupulous employers who avoid paying lawful wages or damages once found liable for wage and hour violations.
Wage theft is on the rise and workers have no way to protect themselves and hold their employers accountable to the law. Despite this, Governor Cuomo heartlessly vetoed the SWEAT bill last year. We know the SWEAT bill can help stop wage theft. If we want to ensure that Governor Cuomo signs the SWEAT bill […]
On July 23rd, SWEAT once again passed the Senate, with two-thirds in support. When Governor Cuomo heartlessly vetoed the SWEAT bill in January, he promised to address the problem of wage theft. He has failed to do so. With workers facing severe economic difficulties and with wage theft on the rise, it is more important […]
We are deeply frustrated by the Governor’s decision to veto Securing Wages Earned Against Theft (SWEAT), a bill that would have helped low income New York workers recover wages owed to them by their employers. We strongly disagree with the reasons articulated in the veto message, but we will continue to work with the Governor […]