Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Donald Trump’s former personal chauffer for 25 years is suing two of Trump’s firms, alleging that Trump failed to give him required overtime pay for more than 20 years
In his lawsuit filed with the New York State Supreme Court, Noel Cintron accused the Trump Organization of not paying him for “thousands of hours of overtime” to which he’s legally entitled. During more than 25 years as Trump’s personal driver, Cintron said he received a base salary but was never paid legally required overtime pay at a rate of 1-1/2 times his regular hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
The suit names the Trump Organization and Trump Tower Commercial LLC as defendants, but not Trump himself. Cintron still works for the Trump Organization.
In addition to not to paying Cintron’s overtime, Trump raised Cintron’s salary only twice in 15 years, but cut-off Cintron’s health benefits in exchange for the second raise. Cintron is suing for about 3,300 hours of overtime he worked in the past six years. He’s not allowed to sue for overtime prior to that due to the statute of limitations.
Cintron’s lawsuit also says Trump failed to reimburse Cintron for “accrued vacation time, accrued sick days, and his expenses while performing his job duties.” The suit accuses the defendants of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and multiple violations of New York State labor law.
“It’s truly disgraceful that Trump’s longstanding and faithful employee had to resort to litigation to address the fact that he is being exploited and denied his fair wages,” said Larry Hutcher, Cintron’s lawyer. “However, this type of conduct is shameful from the president who claims to represent the working people of our great nation.”
The suit revealed Cintron worked an average of 50 to 55 hours per week for Trump for more than 25 years.
“In an utterly callous display of unwarranted privilege and entitlement and without even a minimal sense of noblesse oblige President Donald Trump has, through defendant entities, exploited and denied significant wages to his own longstanding personal driver,” said Cintron’s lawsuit.
The suit says that when Cintron received a “purported” raise of $7,000 per year in 2010, it was more than eaten up by the loss of his health insurance benefits that same year. Cintron said he “was induced to surrender his health benefits obtained through Trump.” This move saved Trump nearly $18,000 in health insurance premiums, charged Cintron.
The complaint says Cintron worked about 550 hours of uncompensated overtime per year for those six years. This came to some 3,330 hours of overtime. At Cintron’s current pay rate, that means he’s owed $178,487 in back pay. In addition to back overtime with interest, Cintron’s suit is asking for almost $40,000 in statutory penalties.
The Trump Organization defended its treatment of Cintron, saying “Mr. Cintron was at all times paid generously and in accordance with the law. Once the facts come out we expect to be fully vindicated in court. Trump had no immediate comment.
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