by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
NEW YORK CITY — A Filipina nanny, brought to the US from Hong Kong, sued her employers for unfair labor practice is now getting settlement money for unpaid wages and stolen tax deductions.
It was August last year, when Filipina nanny Maricel Cachero Cano brought her case to New York employment lawyer John Howley for stolen tax deductions.
Court records show her employers Heidi and Nicolas Lee stole $10,000 worth of paycheck deductions for two years, and failed to remit those deductions to the IRS, Social Security and Medicare.
“Akala niya binabayad yung buwis, lumabas pala na hindi, so nakabawas siya sa suweldo niya, pangalawa yung mga trinabaho niya na lampas sa working hours niya na hindi siya binayaran so heto yung hinabol namin base sa batas,” said special counsel Leandro Lachica.
“What made this case very interesting, is after we looked at the taxes, we also looked at how she was being paid,” said legal counsel John Howley. “And she wasn’t paid for all the time she had worked.”
Aside from unpaid overtime wages, court documents also show that Cachero Cano was not given full 24 consecutive hours of rest each week.
“Under NYC law, you’re entitled to a full 24 hours off, if you are not given 24 hours off, you have to be paid for the day, and you have to be paid at the overtime rate,” said Howley.
Howley says the case was resolved in no time and the amount of unpaid wages were easily accounted for, thanks to the Filipina nanny’s diaries.
“She was very smart, she kept a notebook, and she wrote down everything she did everyday,” he said. “She wrote down what time she did it, so we had a detailed summary of everything she did.”
Both parties opted for a $72,000 dollar settlement for both stolen paycheck deductions and unpaid wages and overtime.
“Kung mananalo ka ng kaso sa court, baka may appeal, baka sabihin nila wala kaming pera, kailangan mo hanapan ng pera nila pero kung meron kang settlement, magbayad sila kaagad,” said Howley.
Maricel, who declined to be interviewed on camera, plans to continue working in the US after receiving the biggest pay day of her life.