Worker Justice Center of New York Files Wage Theft Lawsuit Against Stella’s Pizzeria on Behalf of Former Employee

Newburgh, New York – Through his attorneys at the Worker Justice Center of New York (WJCNY) and private counsel, Newburgh resident Marlon Aguirre has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to recover unpaid wages from his former employers. In the complaint, Mr. Aguirre alleges that Torino Pizza (d/b/a “Stella’s Pizzeria”) et al. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) by failing to pay him legally-required overtime wages and committing other statutory violations.

Mr. Aguirre worked as a cook for Stella’s Pizzeria for over 13 years. In his Complaint Mr. Aguirre claims he regularly worked long hours — as many as 70 or 80 hours per week. Despite these long hours, however, Mr. Aguirre’s former employers, in willful and systematic violation of both federal and New York law, never paid him overtime at time and one-half of his regularly hourly rate. Instead, Mr. Aguirre alleges he was only paid a flat hourly rate for all of his hours of work.

Mr. Aguirre hopes his lawsuit will help educate other workers and raise awareness on the issue of labor exploitation in New York State, stating: “I bring this lawsuit because all workers should be treated equally – employers cannot force certain people to work extra hours without overtime pay. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like, employers need to treat all workers the same. To the workers: We cannot continue to live in a lie that allows us to be exploited. Educate yourself, know your rights – it is the only way we can break through the lies. Because if we, as workers, know our rights, then we will also know when they are being violated.”

WJCNY has a long record of victories in lawsuits brought by low-wage workers against New York employers. In addition to the business, the lawsuit names Francis (Frank) and Maria Vacante as individual defendants, and Torino Bakery as an additional defendant. Mr. Aguirre seeks damages for violations of the FLSA and NYLL, including unpaid overtime wage compensation, liquidated damages, prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

Laura Revercomb, the WJCNY attorney on the case, states “we are confident in the merits of our client’s case and hope his courageous act will empower other workers to speak out about wage violations and unfair treatment in the workplace.”

WJCNY pursues justice for those denied human rights with a focus on agricultural and other low-wage workers, through legal representation, community empowerment and advocacy for institutional change.