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N. Mex. Judge OKs Wage -Theft Settlement

March 19, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

SANTA FE, N.M.—A New Mexico state judge gave final approval Mar. 9 to a settlement that will require the state Department of Workforce Solutions to reopen wage-theft cases it had closed, stop refusing to take claims of more than $10,000, and let workers make claims in Spanish. “It was a good resolution to a difficult issue,” State District Judge David Thomson said. The agreement resolves a class-action suit against the department filed in 2017. Lead plaintiff Jose “Pancho” Olivas told the court that when he and his wife remodeled a restaurant in Farmington in 2014-15, he was paid for far less than the 65 to 100 hours a week he worked, and she “would not get paid at all”—but Workforce Solutions told him “they could not take my case because I was owed more than $10,000.” “I am looking forward to my case moving forward and finally getting the justice and the wages that I deserve,” said plaintiff Madeline Cadman, a Navajo home-care field coordinator who estimated she was owed almost 3,000 hours in unpaid wages and overtime.” Workforce Solutions attorney Daniel Apodaca told the court the department was  “very much in favor of the settlement.” Read more

March 19, 2018

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