Philadelphia company faces lawsuit over lost wages and retaliatory firings

Jon Campisi Nov. 29, 2014, 6:00pm


Two Northeast Philadelphia residents filed a federal lawsuit against their former employer, alleging the company failed to give them overtime pay and engaged in retaliatory practices.

Attorneys Joshua S. Boyette, Richard S. Swartz and Manali Arora, of the Cherry Hill, N.J. law firm of Swartz Swidler, LLC, filed the complaint Aug. 11 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Angel Reyes and Gerald Leonardi.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiff’s allege violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, claiming the defendants, Termac Corp. and Termac administrator, Leo Steslow, failed to pay them overtime compensation.

The lawsuit also alleges violations of Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act and the state’s Wage Payment Collection Law.

In addition, Reyes claims he was wrongfully terminated from his position for filing for workers’ compensation and for complaining to company officials about their alleged disposal of chemical waste into public sewers.

Termac Corp. is described in the complaint as a kitchen and laundry products developer that is headquartered in Philadelphia.

The lawsuit states that Reyes was hired by Termac in 2007 and Leonardi began working for the company the following year. Both were paid on an hourly basis.

Shortly after their respective employment began, both employees worked, on average, in excess of 45 hours per week, with both rarely taking lunch breaks, even though 30 minutes was supposedly deducted from their paychecks for lunch.

Both plaintiffs allege in the suit that they did not receive overtime pay.

Reyes claims in the lawsuit that the company regularly dumped chemicals into Philadelphia’s sewer system in violation of state laws.

In late February of this year, Reyes complained about the alleged dumping and shortly after his complaints were aired, he experienced an on-the-job injury while operating machinery. The incident required him to miss four weeks of work, for which he did receive workers’ compensation benefits, the lawsuit states.

During a routine medical examination, Reyes discovered that his lymph nodes were swollen, and upon his return to work, he requested to know what products he had been exposed to during the course of his employment. He was not given a straight answer.

It was in April of this year that Reyes then began to complain about the alleged illegal dumping of chemicals into the sewer system, the lawsuit states.

Soon after airing his various complaints, Reyes was fired. Company officials blame the termination on an alleged verbal confrontation Reyes got into with a driver off-site, the lawsuit claims.

Reyes, however, claims he was retaliated against after seeing a doctor for his work-related injuries and for raising concerns over the alleged illegal dumping activity.

The lawsuit also contains a wrongful termination count for Reyes only. The counts involving violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law covers both plaintiffs.

Both plaintiffs seek to have the company cease its alleged illegal activity. They are also looking to be compensated for wages they would have received had they not been terminated. Reimbursement of legal fees is also sought.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-05124-HB.

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