To some Texas readers, being a live-in employee sounds like a good deal, especially the thought of not needing to commute. A housing authority in another state is being accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act after it fired one of its in-house employees. The plaintiff — a disabled U.S. veteran — alleges he was thrown onto the street and forced to live in a storm drain after he complained about not receiving overtime pay.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff was an assistant apartment manager, and he was living rent-free in an apartment that would have otherwise cost him $600 per month. He complained that he has the right to be paid the minimum wage. The plaintiff alleges that he effectively only gets paid $3.47 per hour when he works 40 hours and then 93 cents per hour when he is on call. Because he lives rent free, he is responsible for responding to requests within 10 minutes for 113 hours per week above the 40-hour minimum. For all of these hours, he claims he did not receive overtime.
The day after the plaintiff complained about not being paid, he alleges that he was evicted. The housing authority’s attorney contends that the plaintiff was not thrown out and that it was never intended for him to be evicted. Moreover, the plaintiff was not terminated; instead, his contract was not renewed for reasons that were not disclosed. In light of the lawsuit, the housing authority is going to investigate whether to continue on with the live-in program.
The plaintiff stated the he is not going forward with this overtime pay lawsuit because he wants to get rich, rather, he wants justice for being treated unfairly. He is accusing the housing authority of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and is seeking to be reinstated and receive lost wages and damages. This lawsuit will also be investigating if other housing authorities are committing the same suspected wrongdoing. Texas workers sacrifice their time and energy when they work a large amount of hours. Employees who suspect that they are not being paid in accordance to state and federal wage laws may research applicable employment laws.
Source: timesunion.com, “Disabled vet suing Reno Housing Authority over US labor laws”, Scott Sonner, Sept. 4, 2015