By Marcus Swift, NWJP Staff Attorney
Two NWJP clients who had been underpaid working for a suburban house-cleaning service found wage justice in Washington County Circuit Court in late March, winning a unanimous jury verdict on two of three counts. The clients, Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Renderos, won at trial on their claims that the employer failed to pay the minimum wage for all the hours worked and failed to pay final wages.
[pullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]"We are thankful for all of the hard work that the Northwest Workers' Justice Project performed on our case and the cases of so many others,” said Ms. Ruiz. “We are very happy that they gave us a voice and helped us achieve justice."[/pullquote]
Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Renderos were hired to work for an individual and her cleaning company in February 2014. They spent their days cleaning houses and apartments nearly every weekday during that month, but quickly noticed that their paychecks seemed too small for the number of hours they were working. Not being paid what they were legally owed, Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Renderos quit so that they could find better jobs to help support their families. After they stopped working for the employer, they were still owed a final paycheck for their last week of work, but the employer refused to pay their final wages.
Several pleas to pay the wages owed were ignored, and that’s when Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Renderos decided to contact the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project. An attorney for NWJP reached out to the employer but was also ignored. After being contacted by NWJP a second time, the employer changed her records and paid the clients a small amount more. But the hours were still incorrect and the payments were not enough. So, Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Renderos were forced to bring an action in court.
The six person jury listened for two days in a Washington County courtroom as attorneys on both sides presented their case, offered evidence, and examined witnesses. In the end, it took the jury only two and a half hours to find in favor of Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Renderos.
We congratulate the clients for their courage and fortitude.