Santa Fe judge allows wage-theft enforcement suit to continue

By T.S. Last/Journal NorthFriday, April 28th, 2017 at 4:56pm

SANTA FE – District Court Judge David K. Thomson on Friday rejected a motion by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions to dismiss a lawsuit filed claiming the department was not enforcing state wage theft laws.

The lawsuit was filed in January by four people who say they were victims of wage theft and a coalition of workers’ rights groups. They allege that the department doesn’t hold guilty employers liable for statutory damages during the administrative enforcement phase of a case; improperly imposes a $10,000 cap on investigating wage theft claims; doesn’t investigate or take action against a business when a claim is more than a year old; and refuses claims when workers get snagged by administrative red tape.

“This ruling reaffirms that every hard working New Mexican – not just those with the money to hire lawyers – deserves to be paid for their work,” Elizabeth Wagoner of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a news release. “Our state government cannot turn a blind eye when employers break laws protecting working people.”

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