McALLEN — An agreement was reached in a wage theft lawsuit involving the maid of a Mexican pop icon.
A court agreed to a settlement notice filed by the parties days before a jury trial was set to begin in a civil lawsuit dating back more than a year, involving a Harlingen woman who claimed lost wages because her employers failed to pay her the minimum wage during the time she worked for them.
Last Wednesday the plaintiff, Maria de Jesus Galeana Sanchez, and defendants Gloria de los Angeles Treviño Ruiz, Armando and Amelia Gomez, agreed to a settle the wage theft suit within 45 days, according to court order filed Oct. 18.
“The parties note that they have “entered into a settlement in the above-referenced cause, and the parties will file a notice of dismissal with prejudice within 45 days. In light of this information, and in the interest of judicial economy, the Court cancels the jury trial currently scheduled to begin on October 20, 2017,” the court order states.
The amount of the settlement was not part of the information available but the parties are set for a status conference hearing Dec. 12, court records show.
Galeana Sanchez, originally of Mexico, alleged in a suit filed May 2016, that in order to prevent her from proving her legal status and restrict her travel, Treviño Ruiz, who also goes by the stage name Gloria Trevi, and her co-defendants, hid the woman’s passport upon arriving to work in the U.S.
This and other allegations were levied against Trevi, Armando and Amalia Gomez, by the woman who worked as a “domestic servant” in Mexico for the trio. Galeana Sanchez was hired by the defendants to work in the U.S. in the same capacity at their McAllen residence.
But Galeana Sanchez, who worked in McAllen for the defendants from Oct. 2013, to April 2014, claims they breached their employment contract with her by failing to pay her minimum wage during that time, court records show.
Galeana Sanchez claims that during her seven-month employment with Trevi she worked approximately 120 hours a week, but was only paid 5,000 pesos every other week — well under the minimum wage at the time, court documents show.
In 2013 the U.S. dollar rate to pesos was around 13 pesos for every $1,
“Throughout Galeana Sanchez’s employment, Gomez and Treviño Ruiz paid her five thousand Mexican pesos bi-weekly by depositing the pesos into a Mexican bank account,” the court record states. “This wage was far below the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour required by the FLSA.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments, according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.
In her suit, Galeana Sanchez claims she’s entitled to recover her unpaid minimum wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs,” the document states.
“Galeana Sanchez was at all times ready, willing, and able to comply with the terms of the employment contract and did in fact comply with the terms,” the document states. “Gomez and Treviño Ruiz breached their employment contract with Galeana Sanchez by failing to comply with the promised terms and conditions of employment.”
The document makes it clear that as a direct consequence of Gomez and Treviño Ruiz’s breaches of the employment contract, Galeana Sanchez suffered “substantial injury.”
A message left for Galeana Sanchez’s attorney and the attorney for the defendants, went unreturned as of the posting of this report.