L.A. City Atty. files lawsuit to benefit Filipino caregivers Featured

L.A. City Atty. files lawsuit to benefit Filipino caregivers
 
 
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announces lawsuit he filed which could result in
millions of dollars in restitution and back-wages to approximately 200 primarily Filipino
caregivers because of alleged wage theft over the past four years. 
 
 
 
Advocates of Workers' rights, from left: LA City Deputy Atty. Miguel Bahaman, PWC Associate Director Lolita Lledo and LA City Deputy Atty. Ben Delfin have worked diligently for three months to gather evidence and testimonies to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Health Alliance. 
Los Angeles, CA -- In a precedent setting case to enforce the right to minimum wage and
overtime pay for domestic workers and protect immigrant workers against wage theft, Los
Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced on Wednesday morning, May 10, that he has filed a
lawsuit against Canoga Park-based homecare provider Emelyn Nishi and her companies
Health Alliance Nurses Corp., and Hand Homecare Provider, Inc. This lawsuit could result in
millions of dollars in restitution and back-wages to approximately 200 primarily Filipino
caregivers because of alleged wage theft over the past four years.
     "Stealing wages from hard-working men and women is reprehensible," stated City Attorney Feuer. "No worker should be forced into poverty because an employer denies them their basic rights to a minimum wage and overtime," he added  "My office will aggressively combat wage theft and fight to ensure all workers are paid what the law demands."  
     Caregivers with the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) that launched a public campaign
against this employer have since assisted the California Labor Commissioner’s office to
start an investigation that is still on-going. They then organized to bring the case forward
to the City Attorney’s office in an effort to enforce their rights as domestic workers and
send a unified message to other agencies to end wage-theft in the homecare industry.
“We felt vindicated that the city attorney found that there were lots of violations in terms
of our wages. We were not paid overtime. We hope that the case will be decided in favor of
the caregivers who are fighting for dignity and the right to be paid what they are owed,”
said Rufina Tubo, a former caregiver of Health Alliance and member of PWC.
     The suit alleges that Emelyn Nishi and her companies Health Alliance Nurses Corp., and
Hand Homecare Provider, Inc., charged between $170 and $250 per day for 24-hour
in-home domestic care to families. However, these employees allegedly were paid only
$100 to $125 per shift, equating to as little as $5.50 per hour or less. According to the
lawsuit, defendants allegedly pressured their employed caregivers to falsify time records to
avoid overtime payments, and routinely threatened them with termination or blacklisting
within the industry.
     At the press conference held on Wednesday, Pilipino Workers Center Executive
Director, Aquilina Soriano Versoza explained that “(In 2016) the overtime provision of the
California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was made permanent in Sacramento (SB1015-
Leyva), ending finally and for good, over 75 years of exclusion from overtime protections
for nannies and caregivers. Today, with this case, we are seeing our rights becoming a
reality. Today we see the dignity of homecare workers being upheld and uplifted.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction against further alleged unlawful, unfair and fraudulent
business acts as well as restitution to all current and former employees who were not paid
minimum wages or overtime. In addition, defendants could face civil penalties up to $2,500
for each violation.
     This case is emblematic given the scope of domestic work in California as well as the
epidemic of worker exploitation throughout the for-profit homecare industry. More than 2
million households across CA hire domestic workers, whether it be for housecleaning,
nannying, or in-home support, with nearly one third of those homes hiring for supports and
services for seniors and people with disabilities.
     This case emerges as the California Domestic Workers Coalition, a statewide alliance of
domestic worker organizations, shifts its focus toward statewide rights enforcement and
worker education. Director of Enforcement Strategies Sarah Leadem shares, "The
collaboration between the caregiver leaders of Pilipino Workers Center and the City
Attorney of Los Angeles provides a powerful model that domestic workers across the state
may follow to exercise their rights and defend their dignity."
     Both the City Attorney’s office and the Pilipino Workers Center are encouraging anyone
who has been a victim of wage theft to reach out to protect their rights. To the City
Attorney's Office by e-mail at 
 or by phone at  and to
Pilipino Workers Center for ongoing accompanying and support. PWC's EMPLEO Pinoy
workers rights hotline is 1 (877) TULONG1.
     The Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) is a non-profit organization and worker center located
in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles, that works to address the immediate needs of
Filipino workers and their families and build their leadership to take collective action on
issues that most impact them. The Pilipino Workers Center is a leader in the California
Domestic Workers Coalition. For more information about the Pilipino Worker Center
please visit: 
www.pwcsc.org .
Last modified onSaturday, 20 May 2017 23:51

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

back to top
×

Sign up to keep in touch!

Be the first to hear about special offers and exclusive deals from TechNews and our partners.

Check out our Privacy Policy & Terms of use
You can unsubscribe from email list at any time