NY Pinoy reporter sues Fil-Am newspaper for wage theft, tax fraud

NEW YORK – A Filipino reporter for a weekly newspaper in New York called “Filipino Reporter” is suing his former employers — including its dead founder and owner Libertito “Bert” Pelayo who passed away last February.

According to a complaint Edmund Silvestre filed at the Southern District of New York on June 9, Filipino Reporter allegedly failed to pay his full base compensation of $45,780 a year since 2010. Silvestre was hired as a full-time employee under an H1B work visa in 2009.

Even though he worked 50 to 60 hours a week, Silvestre alleges the Pelayos did not pay his overtime hours.

Silvestre is also alleging Pelayo’s daughter Joy and Filipino Reporter were engaged in payroll tax fraud for misreporting him to the IRS as an independent contractor.

He said that is why he was allegedly denied unemployment benefits when he was discharged from Filipino Reporter in November 2014.

But in an email to Balitang America, Filipino Reporter claims that the lawsuit Silvestre filed is frivolous, false, and was disturbing for the family who just lost their father, founder, and owner.

The owners say they are also seeking legal actions against Silvestre.

Silvestre is seeking damages for unpaid base salary, unpaid overtime salary, and punitive damages for the unpaid taxes, and the benefits he lost as a result of the alleged payroll tax fraud.

An initial conference is scheduled in September.

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