Cambridge Nonprofit Vinfen Sued for Alleged Wage Violations
Cambridge, Mass. – A Cambridge nonprofit providing services to adults with disabilities is being sued by a nursing assistant for allegedly failing to pay her overtime for over three years.
Lakeya Clark from Roxbury filed the lawsuit against Vinfen in federal court in Boston at the end of December alleging that she wasn’t paid in full for more than ten hours of overtime in any given week.
According to the court complaint, Clark “frequently works hours beyond forty each week,” and often exceeding “fifty each week.”
The complaint claims that when Clark began working at Vinfen three and a half years ago, her supervisor Sunday Okojie told her “that he could not pay her more than ten hours of overtime” in any given week, and that hours exceeding this “he would attribute them to a following week.”
It’s alleged that Okojie “never did so,” and when Clark had seven hours of overtime deducted from her paycheck on one occasion, it prompted her to report this to human resources at Vinfen.
The complaint claims that human resources “took no action for several weeks,” but eventually paid her “for the overtime wrongfully deleted by Mr. Okojie.”
When this situation occurred another time, it’s alleged that Clark again raised the issue with human resources, and “only after she had persisted for several weeks” was she eventually paid.
According to the complaint, Clark believes she “has not been paid for at least thirty hours each month during the period she was worked for Vinfen,” allegedly depriving her “of at least $607.50 each month.”
It’s further alleged that Vinfen attempted to wrongfully terminate Clark, “because she complained as to non-payment of wages,” and that the company immediately afterward “began to write her up for baseless reasons.”
The complaint alleges that Vinfen “has done so only as part of an attempt to lay a foundation on which it intends to rely as part of its plan to terminate Ms. Clark.” It’s further alleged that as part of this plan, Vinfen suspended Clark in October last year, claiming that she had left the facility “out of ratio,” meaning that there were too few staff present when she left – with permission from the lead nurse – to purchase hygiene products at a CVS pharmacy.
Clark was also given a final writing warning for various issues, which the complaint alleges “are untrue,” including a visit “for just several minutes” to the facility by her children, along with their father.
It's alleged that “Vinfen also has failed to follow its own procedures as to discipline imposed” on Clark, where she never “received any other verbal or written warning,” besides the “final written warning immediately after she requested payment of unpaid wages.”
According to a spokesperson, “Vinfen does not comment on pending litigation,” but they “are confident that any employment issues raised by our employees are fully and fairly addressed.”
Clark’s legal counsel could not be reached for comment before the filing of this report.