The Labor Justice Committee was out in full force to support one if its members, Jose Luis Villarreal, as he filed a suit to recover thousands of dollars in overtime wages for several years of work. Jose Luis is represented by Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project.
“I worked for Los Gallegos for nine years and always worked over forty hours per week. I asked the owner of Los Gallegos many times during my employment why he was not paying us our overtime hours,” said Mr. Villarreal, “In the end he fired me for standing up for my rights. In the restaurant industry, many workers are working from forty up to ninety-hour weeks without any overtime pay. It is time that restaurant owners pay their employees the overtime they deserve.”
Restaurant employees must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 hours per week. Overtime pay is time and a half of the promised hourly rate.
“Mr. Villarreal was a victim of systematic and severe overtime violations. By not paying overtime wages to its employees, Los Gallegos is robbing thousands of dollars from its workers every year,” said Chris Benoit, an attorney with Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project, “And this is not an isolated incident. A recent report by the National Employment Law Project stated that 76% of low-wage workers see overtime violations similar to Mr. Villarreal’s case.”
“Employers in El Paso seem to think they are above the law. We are here to keep these employers from acting with such impunity.” added Gabriela Barraza, a member of the Labor Justice Committee as she held up a sign that read “Honk To Support Worker’s Rights!”