NASHVILLE (CN) – Eleven workers say a labor contractor who hired them to clean Chili’s restaurants at night bounced paychecks, stiffed them for weeks of work and threatened to call immigration if they complained or stopped working. They sued Worldwide Domestic Services – but not Chili’s – in Federal Court.
The 11 plaintiffs, all with Latino surnames, say that Debra Pope, an owner and operator of Worldwide, “signed most of the bounced checks.”
Pope, however, is not named as a defendant.
The workers say they were supposed to be paid $10 an hour “to clean Chili’s restaurants after-hours throughout the Middle Tennessee area.”
When they complained about the bounced checks, which caused some of them to lose their bank accounts, they say a man named Deshaun “threatened to report plaintiffs to police and/or immigration authorities if plaintiffs stopped working.”
The workers say they were told they would be paid the money owed them by Dec. 5, 2010. When they were not, a sister of one of the plaintiff’s called Pope, according to the complaint.
“On this phone call, Debra Pope threatened to call immigration authorities and the police on the plaintiffs and [the sister] if they continued to pursue the unpaid wages or report the defendant,” according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs seek payment for 2,196 hours of regular pay and 542 hours of overtime- roughly $38,210 – damages for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and costs.
They are represented by Charles Faquin with the Thompson Law Group in Nashville.
Worldwide, the only defendant named in the complaint, is based in Nashville.