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Construction company must pay Latino migrant $650,000 for workplace injury retaliation

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Empresa EEUU pagará $650,000 inmigrante latino angustia
  • A construction company must pay $650,000 to a Latino immigrant for emotional distress.
  • The United States Department of Labor itself filed a lawsuit on behalf of José Martín Paz Flores.
  • The story goes back to March 2017, when José Martín Paz Flores was injured on a construction site while in the US illegally.

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN COMPENSATION. A US construction company must pay $650,000 to a Latino immigrant for causing him enormous emotional distress. You might ask: How is this possible? Could anyone make a complaint like this? Well, we’ll tell you about the case of José Martín Paz Flores.

The court battle began in 2019, when the US Department of Labor itself filed a lawsuit on behalf of José Martín Paz Flores against Tara Construction, claiming that it had broken federal laws.

Construction company must pay $650,000 to Latino immigrant for emotional distress

US company will pay $650,000 for Latino immigrant
Photo: Facebook

The story dates back to March 2017, when José Martín Paz Flores was working on a construction site while in the United States illegally, the court documents detail. He had an accident at work, where he fell from a ladder and broke his leg, requiring surgery.

This injury was used against him. Pedro Pirez, owner of Tara Construction, decided to contact the Boston Police Department and federal immigration authorities in order to have Flores deported so that he wouldn’t have to pay him while he was out on disability.

They set a trap!

US company will pay $650,000 Latino immigrant ICE
Photo: Twitter

About two months after the accident José Martín Paz Flores suffered at work, his employer called and asked him to stop by the office so he could give him some money. The undocumented immigrant believed him and when he arrived at the office he was arrested by the authorities.

What Pirez did not know is that his actions come back to haunt him, because what he did violates federal labor law, which says that retaliation against workers who exercise their labor rights is strictly prohibited. This regulation applies to everyone equally, regardless of immigration status, so it also protects immigrants even if they are undocumented.

Was the owner guilty? Did he do it maliciously?

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«He needed to know what Paz’s real name was because the hospital was pressing for that information, but he never foresaw what would come next,» said Daniel Dwyer, Pedro Pirez’s attorney, defending his client. “ICE later discovered information on its own that led to its decision to make an arrest.”

Pirez has said that he was “misunderstood” by the jury that heard his case and that, as a Hispanic, he claims to be committed to helping people like José Martín Paz Flores. Indeed, the jury did not see it that way and imposed a harsh punishment on the employer.

What are the consequences?

Chronicle immigrant mercy ex-girlfriend
Photo: Shutterstock

After a lengthy legal battle, a federal court found that the employer had retaliated against the former Massachusetts construction worker following a workplace accident and ordered him to pay $650,000 in compensation, the El Diario report said.

This week, the jury finally ruled that Tara Construction should pay $50,000 in compensatory damages to José Martín Paz Flores for having caused him emotional distress and that Pedro Pirez, owner of the company, should pay the immigrant an additional $600,000 in punitive damages.

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