A group of Houston security officers and janitors who are waiting to be paid for the hours they worked protecting and cleaning Houston city buildings today filed a lawsuit in United States District Court Southern District of Texas against several city contractors alleging that these employers violated the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) by failing to compensate for hours worked as well as overtime pay.
Despite letters from the city stating that they are owed significant amounts of money, these Houstonians are still waiting. The named plaintiffs in the Norred case are Christina C. Figueroa, Arlene Nugent, Earvie Lee C. Poole, Sarpaul S. Mehat and Steven L. Perrett. The named plaintiffs in the JBM case are Angel Flores, Cesar Hernandez, Deborah Rivera, Laura Lozoya and Sally A. Martinez.
“These families have been patiently waiting for their money to be returned and despite the city’s help, the companies are not doing anything,” said Elsa Caballero, President of SEIU Texas. “A letter from the city should be enough for your employer to make payment.”
Approximately 600 janitors and security officers work for contractors in City of Houston and Houston First facilities where they earn less than city employees and do not have health insurance.
“We are filing in federal court because the companies have ignored the letters from the city sustaining these claims,” said Melissa Moore, Moore & Associates, the lead attorney representing the workers. “These families should not still be waiting.”
“I worked a lot of time that I was not paid for,” said Sarpaul Mehat, a security officer at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. “When the city sustained my claim and said the company must pay, I was very hopeful. But I am here now because they have refused and I’m still waiting.”
“I am still waiting for my money,” said Laura Lozoya, a janitor who is owed more than $13,000 in unpaid wages. “I have not received any reason why the company is refusing to pay. I have worked hard and followed the rules, my employer should do the same.”