Almost a dozen former Papillion day care employees say they're owed hundreds of dollars in back pay, but when it comes to collecting, they're on their own. Fact Finders first investigated the pay dispute last spring and months later, they are still waiting.
Former employees fighting for their back pay never expected it to be this much work. “Now, I have to wait even longer and have no idea if I'm going to get my check.”
They're among 11 workers who quit Cradles To Crayons Day Care after a dispute with the new owner. They claim he owes each person two weeks back pay, which amounts to hundreds of dollars.
Many of the former workers went to small claims court and won judgments against the owner of the now closed day care. They say trying to collect back wages through the legal system is like riding a teeter-totter on the playground.
Sara Martin has to re-file because of a mistake in serving the summons. Amanda Alcala won a default judgment after correcting technicalities. “We are already frustrated enough because we didn't get our money and to have to come do all this and go through this tedious process,” says Alcala.
“The Department of Labor should have more pull, especially with it being such a high amount of money they owe all the employees,” says Martin.
A state senator on the Labor Committee will take a look at the laws. “It doesn't seem to be any real enforcement by the Department of Labor in these cases, so it’s something I'm eager to look at when we're back in session,” says Sarpy County Sen. Jim Smith.
The state yanked the day care license forcing closure, but former employees who left months before that say their claims for back wages should remain open.
The owner of Cradles To Crayons, Daemon Stevenson, is appealing the judgments, according to his attorney. A Nebraska Labor Department official tells Fact Finders the state does what it can to get employers to cooperate, but the law is enforced through the courts.