Three sue supermarket for alleged labor violations and trafficking

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A group of three employees are accusing a supermarket in San Antonio of labor violations and trafficking.

Md. Ashiquzzaman, Mir Fozle Mehedi, and Md. Sazedul Islam, through attorney Joseph Horey, are suing Mir Corp., which foes business as Toha Supermarket, for allegedly failing to pay them the wages they were promised and for allegedly confiscating their passports so they couldn’t work anywhere else.

According to the lawsuit, Ashiquzzaman was employed by Toha as a butcher from July 2016 to December 2018. Mehedi was employed as a maintenance worker and farmer from September 2016 to June 2017. Islam was employed primarily doing various jobs at Toha Supermarket from 2015 to March 2021.

The three allege that Mir Corp. paid them at a rate of less than $6.05 per hour, which is significantly lower than the minimum wage imposed under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, and significantly lower than promised in their CNMI-Only CW-1 visa petition.

“Plaintiffs allege that while employed with Toha, their regular and overtime wages were lower than the amount prescribed for the CNMI at the time by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. They allege that Toha’s failure to pay lawful wages to plaintiffs was willful,” Horey stated.

The former Toha employees are seeking relief in the amount of their unpaid minimum wages, their unpaid overtime compensation, and additional equal amount as liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees.

As for the trafficking allegations, the plaintiffs allege that Mir Corp. confiscated their passports in an “attempt to prevent or restrict…plaintiffs’ liberty to move or travel in order to maintain their labor services.”

In addition, Mir Corp. allegedly collected recruitment fees from plaintiffs in the amount of at least $10,000 upon the representation that they would work at good jobs and earn salaries of up to $2,000 per month and obtain permanent residency.

Mir Corporation was served the complaint yesterday afternoon.

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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