Michell Semprum is one of a group of about 20 workers who says were hired to paint new buildings in Miami last year.
“We were doing exteriors, interiors,” Semprum said. “Eight hours (a day) from Monday to Saturday.”
Semprum recently told NBC 6 Responds and Telemundo 51 Responde’s Myriam Masihy that at first they were being paid with checks by one of the directors of the company, Marilyn Jaramillo.
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Some say they’d been paid the appropriate amount and on time for months. But by October, they say they didn’t get at least two checks on time. When they were finally paid, it was in cash. They say they were told to sign documents confirming they had been paid.
But in November, they say things changed again. A Saturday pay day came and went with no money.
“They paid every fifteen days and we were there Saturday, and we didn’t get paid that Saturday,” Semprum said. “They say, ‘Oh, come Monday.’ We come Monday, we didn’t get paid that day either.”
They say when their efforts to reach anyone at the company weren’t answered, they called NBC 6 Responds and Telemundo 51 Responde to get the $1,500 each say they’re owed.
By phone, Marilyn Jaramillo denied overseeing the workers during the time they didn’t get paid even though they say they continued to work for her.
found that in October, the owner of the company in charge of the project and
Jaramillo had a falling out. She was removed from corporate documents right
around the time the workers say she began paying them in cash. Weeks later,
another company called Diverse Design, belonging to an acquaintance of
Jaramillo, took over the job site.
The owner of Diverse Design never returned our calls or emails.
“I’m feeling very upset. I mean, I worked hard. I want my money,” Semprum said.
The group filed complaints with Miami-Dade’s Consumer Protection Mediation Center who enforces the county’s wage theft ordinance.
Bryant Acevedo, a spokesperson for the center, said, “Anyone can file a wage theft complaint with our office as long as the work that they were performing was performed in Miami-Dade County.”
The work also had to be done within the last 12 months, you must be owed more than $60 and you must provide evidence, like W-2 forms or paystubs, that show you were an employee and not a contractor.
In the painters’ cases, the county has reached out to the parties involved. They told NBC 6 Responds that they couldn’t provide details about the ongoing investigation.
While he waits for a resolution, Michell says his goal is simple.
“We want our money,” he says. “We don’t want trouble. We don’t want to take this higher. We just basically want to arrange something for them to pay us.”
Consumer Protection says they were able to recover close to $400,000 in lost wages in 2018. If you are owed wages and want to file a complaint, click on the link below the county that pertains to you: