Not even the President can escape
paying employees overtime wages. Noel Cintron, Donald Trump’s
“longstanding personal driver” of over 25 years, has filed a lawsuit against
two of the President’s corporations for failing to pay him overtime
wages. Cintron claims he was forced to work thousands of hours of
overtime without compensation as Trump’s chauffeur. Adding insult to
injury, Cintron alleges he did not even receive “a meaningful raise in over 12
years” from the billionaire President.
On average, Cintron worked 50-55 hour
weeks for Trump driving Trump, his family or business associates. Cintron
also had to be on call to provide chauffeur services at Trump’s whim.
Trump first paid Cintron a fixed annual salary of $62,700 in 2003, which
was increased to $68,000 in 2006. Trump purported to increase Cintron’s annual
salary by $7,000, to a total of $75,000 per year, in December 2010.
Cintron claims this was not really a raise. The lawsuit claims this
$7,000 increase was granted solely because Cintron was induced to surrender his
health benefits obtained through Trump, allegedly saving Trump approximately
$17,866.08 per year in health insurance premiums. Cintron received no
raises or health insurance benefits from Trump after December 2010.
The New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) and
the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) require employers to pay employees time
and a half for hours worked over forty per workweek. As alleged in the
lawsuit, Trump failed to pay Cintron any overtime wages by paying him a fixed
annual salary. Cintron argues that under both the FLSA and NYLL, the
salary does not cover compensation for any of his hours worked over forty per
workweek. The NYLL allows Cintron to sue to recover wages that were not
paid to him within the last six years (unlike the FLSA, which allows recovery
of unpaid wages for three years). Cintron estimates that he worked
“approximately 550 hours of uncompensated overtime per year for the past six
years, totaling approximately 3,330 hours of uncompensated overtime at time and
one-half.” According to Cintron, Trump owes him approximately $180,110 in
unpaid overtime wages.
Cintron also seeks to recover damages
arising out of Trump’s failures to provide him with annual wage notices and
accurate paystubs, as required under the NYLL. Finally, Cintron claims he
is owed damages because Trump forced him to give up his vacation and sick days
without compensation and to incur charges, which were not reimbursed, while he
performed chauffeur duties.