FORT LAUDERDALE — An employer is being sued over allegations of unpaid overtime wages and retaliation for reporting the unpaid wages as well as discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation for complaints about such behavior.

The claim filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Humberton Hernandez alleges that Xylem Dewatering Solutions Inc. and Thomas Blanford were negligent in paying wages for overtime and created a hostile work environment. Hernandez requests Xylem and Blanford pay damages.

Hernandez was an employee of Xylem and is a "Hispanic (Cuban Black) male and is a member of" a protected class under the U.S. Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act.

Hernandez was employed by Xylem from October 10, 2014, until July 23 and during his employment was responsible for "maintaining and monitoring inventory, distributing parts, and billing customers," according to the complaint.

After the plaintiff was promoted to operations coordinator, Thomas Blanford, a white man, was promoted to branch manager.

Blanford began to cut Hernandez's hours though he did not treat the nonblack, nonhispanic employees in such a way, Hernandez alleges. Additionally, Hernandez claims he was treated differently than other employees, as Blanford held meetings "regarding policy changes while Plaintiff was on vacation" and penalized Hernandez when he returned from vacation. Hernandez also claims Blanford let other employees make racist comments.

Hernandez made complaints to the Human Resources department but no changes were made, Hernandez claims in the suit. The defendants are accused of tampering with Hernandez's timecard and failing to pay overtime even though he says he fulfilled the requirements to receive time and a half in payment.

After Hernandez's complaints to Human Resources, Blanford terminated Hernandez's employment, Hernandez alleges.

Hernandez is requesting a trial by jury and damages of unpaid wages and court costs.

Hernandez is represented by Michelle Cohen Levy of The Law Office of Michelle Cohen Levy, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Fort Lauderdale Division




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