Man sues security firm for paying him less than minimum

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The U.S. District Court for the NMI has allowed a man to move forward with his lawsuit against a security company and former employer for its alleged failure to pay him the CNMI’s minimum wage of $7.25.

In her screening order yesterday, Chief Judge Ramona Manglona allowed Mohammad Jashmin Uddin to move forward with his lawsuit against his ex-employer, Mohammad Nurul Islam Bhuiyan, and his security company, Island Protection Services or IPS.

In the lawsuit filed by Uddin’s lawyer, Cong Nie, he claims that Bhuiyan and IPS violated the law by paying Uddin at a rate that was lower than what was required by the CNMI Minimum Wage and Hour Act.

“Bhuiyan and IPS initially paid Uddin only the rate of $3.75 per hour for both regular hours and overtime and gradually increased this rate over time, and eventually to $5 per hour in 2019 and 2020—always below the applicable federal minimum wage and always without the required 1.5 multiplier for overtime hours,” he said.

According to the suit, the pay Uddin received during his period of employment with Bhuiyan and IPS totals approximately $68,185. Had Uddin been properly paid the applicable minimum wage and overtime pay, he would have received approximately $127,000. Therefore, Nie said, Bhuiyan and IPS owes Uddin unpaid wages in the amount of over $58,000.

“To date, Bhuiyan and IPS still have not fully paid Uddin,” Nie said.

Nie noted that Uddin’s work each workweek typically exceeded 40 hours per week and generally ranged from 50 to 70 hours per week.

Uddin wants Bhuiyan and IPS to pay him compensatory damages, liquidated damages under the FLSA and the MWHA, costs of bringing the suit, including attorney’s fees, and other relief the court deems just and proper.

Uddin was employed by Bhuiyan and IPS under CW-1 visa . The contracts provided that Uddin would be paid the minimum wage and overtime pay at the rate of 1.5 times the minimum wage. However, Bhuiyan and IPS did not pay Uddin in accordance with those contracts.

Starting around 2019, Nie said Bhuiyan required Uddin to sign Uddin’s name on timesheets that did not include Uddin’s overtime hours, while still having Uddin to report his actual hours to Bhuiyan so that Bhuiyan could calculate wages by applying the below-minimum rates stated above to the total actual hours.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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