NY recovers $270K in unpaid wages for domestic worker

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File photo(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 3:43 PM EDT
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York state Department of Labor recovered more than $270,000 in unpaid wages for a domestic worker who was “chronically underpaid” for taking care of an elderly woman over three years, the department announced Thursday.

The recovery of funds to the victim, whose name was not released, was one of the largest recoveries in the department’s history for a single worker, department officials said.

The victim was hired by brothers Habib Tawil and Charles Tawil to take care of their mother at a residence in Brooklyn, where she worked an average of 115 hours a week from 2015 to 2018 and was paid $260 weekly, officials said.

The worker’s duties included bathing, changing, and feeding the woman, as well as performing household tasks like cleaning and laundry, officials said.

The victim told investigators she took care of the mother day and night, often going months without pay and going hungry herself. She was let go after the mother’s death.

Following outreach attempts by the Department of Labor and disputes among Tawil family members about who was responsible for the wages, funds were released in June 2022 and have been distributed to the victim, the department said.

“Withholding rightfully-earned wages from workers is unacceptable, and won’t be tolerated in New York State,” state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said in a statement. “I applaud this victim for coming forward and hope her story inspires others to act.”

Officials with the labor department’s Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs also worked with the consulate in the victim’s home country to fulfill her wish of returning home to her family, the department said.

A phone number listed for Habib Tawil was not in service.

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