Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lawsuit seeking unpaid wages for BUILD trainees could expand, as plaintiffs' lawyers get OK to contact other 29 trainees

The number of potential plaintiffs could grow in the lawsuit against Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD) and others for failure to pay trainees for roughly two months of work they did helping build a house on Staten Island.

Seven of the 36 people in a coveted Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program filed suit last November in federal charging not only violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act but also that they were promised union cards and careers.

The suit not only targets BUILD but Forest City Ratner, which supported the organization, a Community Benefits Agreement signatory, as well as individual executives, along with the company that did the training.

The lawsuit, though the charges were narrowed, survived a motion to dismiss. Now the plaintiffs can try to add some of the other 29 people from the program, but only for the claim of unpaid wages, not damages for the promised union cards.

Going forward

As indicated in the document below, the defendants agreed to provide contact information to plaintiffs' lawyers by August 15. The Consent to Join Form must be postmarked no later than 10/31/12.

The plaintiffs are seeking "liquidated damages" (double the amount of allegedly unpaid wages), as well as attorney's fees.

BUILD officials, when the suit was filed, said the trainees waived their right to be paid. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said, despite the paper, such rights couldn't be waived.

It would be a violation of federal law, according to the notice, if any of the defendants or related entities discriminated or retaliated against people for joining the case.

BUILD Lawsuit, Notice to Potential Plaintiffs, 8/13/12

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