By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

February 14, 2013

NEW YORK– Gemma Lagrazon is suing her employer to recover money
damages for unpaid overtime wages.

Lagrazon says from 2008 to 2012 she worked as a counter person for
Symphony Cleaners, a laundry and dry cleaning service in Manhattan.

She claims she received a flat pay rate of $800 per week or $10 per
hour with no overtime pay.

“Actually eh, bigla na lang niya akong tinanggal, I worked very hard
on that, like, I open at 7 AMand I close at 7 PM. I work six days a
week,” Lagrazon said, “I have one son and I’m helping my parents, my
father is diabetic and mother is the same.”

When Lagrazon sought the help of a labor and employment lawyer to sue
her employer for wrongful termination, Attorney Herbert Tan
said that was not the case. He said Lagrazon’s employer was
shortchanging her for not paying overtime wages.

She worked about 70 hours a week for almost three years.

Employers are required to pay overtime pay in excess of 40 hours of
work per week.

Attorney Tan said, “They’re very hard working people, they’re probably
some of the best workers that I have dealt with, problem is they’re
taken advantage of many times, I understand some people are scared,
they don’t like to sue.”

Tan says Lagrazon filed a case against Symphony Cleaners for violation
of the Fair Labor Standards Act at the Southern District Court of New

Lagrazon is seeking about $52,000 in unpaid overtime and unliquidated
damages plus attorney’s fees.

Lagrazon said. “Dapat talaga, matuto tayong lumaban, kasi nasa tama tayo eh.”

Balitang America tried to contact the Symphony Cleaners owners but has
not heard back from them at this time.

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