Donna Woman Wins $24K Settlement from Ropa Usada Employer
DONNA – A Donna resident represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid won a $24,500 settlement from her McAllen used-clothing employer, which illegally paid her under the minimum wage.
The employer, Universal Used Clothing, is part of the Rio Grande Valley’s vast used-clothing industry.
“I’m very grateful for the settlement,” said Adriana Castellanos de Dios, who sought help from TRLA in August 2016. “But I also want other employees like me to be aware that they can fight back against these unfair wages. I want them to realize that what they’re being paid is against the law.”
Castellanos was employed at Universal Used Clothing’s packing warehouse in McAllen for over two years. She also worked on weekends for the owners of the business, selling clothes at flea markets or working in their Mission retail store, “It’s Good to be Queen.”
According to a press release, she regularly worked more than 40 hours per week; she was paid below the Texas and federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and didn’t receive overtime pay.
“Ropa usada businesses thrive in the Valley, yet they still pay employees far less than a living wage,” said Nicole Bucheri, a TRLA attorney and lead counsel for Castellanos. “We want this case to send a message to the employers. They can’t get away with it. And we want employees to know that they can fight back.”
In October 2016, TRLA filed a complaint on Castellanos’s behalf in the McAllen Division of Southern District of Texas for violations of federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.
The parties entered into the settlement representing Castellanos’s unpaid wages and additional damages.