12 Feb 2018
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
FOURTEEN security guards sued their employer in federal court for not paying U.S. minimum wage and overtime, and for requiring them to pay “recruitment fees.”
The plaintiffs are Shomon Ullah Monshi, Syful Islam, Nasir Uddin, Mohammed M. Billah, Abdullah Al Mamun, Abdullah Al Mahamud, MD Rabi Ullah, Maksudur Rahman, Amir Rasool, Hemayet Hossen, MD Shahidul Islam, Billal Hossen Sarkar, Khirul Basher and MD Solaiman. They are represented by attorney Mun Su Park.
The defendants are Island Protective Service or IPS and its principal, MD Nurul Islam Bhuiyan. They were sued for violations of the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and fraud. The plaintiffs are seeking damages and reasonable attorney’s fee.
Park said the 14 security guards are nationals of Bangladesh and were brought to Saipan to work for IPS.
According to the complaint, Bhuiyan’s gross annual sales or business done amounted to $500,000 or greater per year.
But Bhuiyan compensated the 14 security guards for their work with only $3.50 an hour and $4 per hour after May 2017 or less than the federal and CNMI minimum wage rates, the lawsuit stated,
Park said the security guards regularly worked shifts of 10 hours per day and worked overtime for which they were not compensated.
Park also alleged that IPS had a common policy of not paying plaintiffs at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for the overtime hours they had worked as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Bhuiyan only paid the plaintiffs’ the regular hourly rate (straight time rate) in calculating overtime pay, rather than the legally required rate, the lawsuit stated.
It added that Bhuiyan required them to pay their immigration-petition filing fees.
In Aug. 2017 the CNMI Department of Labor administrative hearing office sanctioned IPS and Bhuiyan for numerous regulatory violations. Between Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018, CNMI DOL also investigated IPS for violations of wage and hour laws, Park said.
According to the plaintiffs, Bhuiyan fraudulently promised them that he would file a petition for green-cards after they arrived on Saipan.
In their reliance on Bhuiyan’s promises, each plaintiff paid “recruitment processing fees” amounting to a total of $130,262 plus their airfare, Park said.
The lawsuit added that Island Protective Services also violated the CNMI and federal tax codes when it did not remit the withholding taxes intended for the plaintiffs.
Moreover, IPS committed immigration fraud when it altered the names of the beneficiaries in approval notices and lied in its business transactions about the plaintiffs’ immigration status.
The plaintiffs likewise alleged that when they expressed their grievances, they suffered discriminatory treatment from Bhuiyan including physical abuse, insulting comments and disparate treatment in their terms and conditions of work.
They said Bhuiyan retaliated against them by reducing their working hours, withholding wages, reductions in pay, harassing them and making comments intended to intimidate them from proceeding with their lawsuit.
They also accused Bhuiyan of threatening their family members in Bangladesh.
Variety was unable to get a comment from Bhuiyan.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102177-security-firm-sued-for-not-paying-minimum-wage-ot