Woman sues staffing agency involved in raid

gavel on book
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the staffing company involved in recent North Portland immigration raid, saying the company failed to pay its workers in a proper and timely manner.
     
Starr Lara of Hillsboro filed a lawsuit late last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court against North Carolina-based Staffco Management Group Inc., which is doing business as American Staffing Resources Inc., The Oregonian reported.
     
She alleges staffing company officials broke state law by failing to pay her and other workers all wages owed, failing to issue final paychecks in a timely manner and taking improper deductions from paychecks.
     
"They don't pay on time," Lara's attorney, Gary Parks, said. "And they don't pay all wages due when they do pay."
     
Staffco officials could not be reached for comment late Monday.
     
American Staffing hires workers for Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.'s plant in North Portland.
     
Parks said the lawsuit was in the works before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided the plant last week, arresting 167 and charging three American Staffing managers with immigration crimes, identity theft and document fraud.
     
Since then, in a federal affidavit and interviews, managers, ex-workers and an undercover federal agent have alleged that American Staffing and Fresh Del Monte failed to pay workers proper overtime wages.
     
According to a complaint Lara filed in December with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, American Staffing told her she'd have to wait two weeks to get her final paycheck when she was terminated Dec. 1.
     
State law requires employers to issue a worker's final paycheck within at least five business days, sooner in some cases, or face penalties of up to 30 days of back wages.
     
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)