The Latest: Judge approves measures against wage theft
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to shore up enforcement of wage-theft laws in New Mexico (all times local):
New measures aimed at protecting workers from wage theft by employers in New Mexico have been approved by a district court judge in New Mexico.
Judge David Thomson on Friday approved a settlement stemming from a lawsuit by workers and advocacy groups against the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
The agreement is designed to make it easier for workers to recover unpaid wages and additional penalties from employers. It lifts a $10,000 limit on claims of missing wages and will allow workers to resubmit complaints that were improperly rejected in recent years.
The state will begin accepting wage-theft claims in remote communities through a network of more than 20 New Mexico Workforce Connection Centers under the settlement.
Victims of wage theft spoke of their travails at a court hearing in Santa Fe and endorsed the settlement. No one voiced opposition.
A New Mexico district court judge is considering final approval of a legal settlement to bolster enforcement of wage-theft laws.
Judge David Thomson has scheduled a hearing for public testimony Friday about an agreement aimed at better protecting workers from employers who fail to pay or fully pay for labor.
The settlement would resolve an accusation that the Department of Workforce Solutions failed to enforce provisions of the state’s Minimum Wage Asct by improperly dismissing complaints, failing to pursue claims over $10,000 and not holding employers liable for damages. It stems from a lawsuit by several advocacy groups for workers’ rights.
The settlement would require that the Division of Labor Relations force negligent employers to pay back unpaid wages three-fold.