Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post, Feb. 27, 2007
A federal lawsuit filed in Greenbelt alleges that a Maryland company that paints luxury condominiums in the District defrauded Latino immigrant workers who routinely worked 60 hours or more a week by failing to pay them overtime.
The company, SCCP Painting Contractors Inc., also allegedly did not pay the four plaintiffs named in the suit for their final two weeks of work. One of the workers, Ivan Aplicano, 34, of Gaithersburg said in an interview yesterday that he worked 113 hours during his last two weeks with the company. Its refusal to pay him after he was fired in April meant he was unable to send money to his native Honduras to help pay for the burial of his mother, Aplicano said.
The lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and lawyers with the downtown firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
They plan to ask a federal judge to certify the suit as a class-action lawsuit, said Laura E. Varela, a lawyer with the lawyers’ committee.
Varela and Anne E. Langford, a lawyer with the firm that collaborated in filing the lawsuit, declined to say whether Aplicano or any of the other three named plaintiffs are in the country without proper documentation.
Varela said the workers’ immigration status is irrelevant to the lawsuit: “They’re entitled to their wages for their labor.”