ISLAND Protective Service and its principal, Mohammad Nurul Islam Bhuiyan, have been sued by Mohammad Jashim Uddin in federal court.

Uddin is accusing IPS and Bhuiyan of not paying him the U.S. minimum wage and overtime, and for requiring him to pay “recruitment fees.”

Uddin sued IPS and Bhuiyan for violation of the minimum wage and overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

Uddin’s complaint was drafted by the law firm of Banes Horey Berman & Miller LLC, but the plaintiff has asked the court to let his lawsuit proceed even if he didn’t pay the fees.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.

According to the complaint, from June 2016 to September 2020, Uddin was employed by Bhuiyan and IPS. During this period, Uddin said he was assigned to work as a security guard at various premises, including without limitation, business establishments, schools, stores, and other premises.

The hours Uddin worked each workweek typically exceeded 40 hours, and generally ranged from 50 to 70 hours per week, his complaint alleged.

Uddin said he was employed by Bhuiyan and IPS under a CW-1 visa and he signed written contracts that were submitted by Bhuiyan and IPS to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process and/or renew Uddin’s CW-1 visa.

Uddin said he was supposed to be paid the federal minimum wage and overtime pay at the rate of 1.5 times the federal minimum wage based on the contract between the plaintiff and the defendants.

However, Bhuiyan and IPS did not pay Uddin in accordance with those contracts or the FLSA, the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit also stated that Bhuiyan and IPS initially paid Uddin only the rate of $3.75 per hour for both regular hours and overtime and gradually increased this rate over time, and eventually to $5 per hour in 2019 and 2020 — “always below the applicable federal minimum wage and always without the required 1.5 multiplier for overtime hours,” the lawsuit stated.

It also alleged that starting in 2019, Bhuiyan required Uddin to sign Uddin’s name on time sheets that did not include Uddin's overtime hours, while still having Uddin to report his actual hours to Bhuiyan so that Bhuiyan could calculate wages by applying the below-minimum rates stated to the total actual hours.

The pay Uddin received during his period of employment with Bhuiyan and IPS totaled approximately $68,185.00.

Had Uddin been properly paid the applicable federal minimum wage and overtime pay, he would have received approximately $127,000 in wages, his lawsuit stated.

Bhuiyan and IPS still owe Uddin unpaid wages in the amount of over $58,000, the lawsuit added.

To date, Bhuiyan and IPS still have not fully paid Uddin.

Upon information and belief, the complaint stated, “Bhuiyan hired Uddin as part of Bhuiyan’s long-standing scheme of exploiting numerous Bangladeshis, including Uddin, through illegal recruitment fees and financial bondage, by: (1) promising them a job on Saipan and demanding them to pay an exorbitant recruitment fee in exchange for hiring them under the CW-1 visa; (2) once they were on Saipan, sending them out to work as security guards for various businesses and underpaying them in order to make profits for himself; and (3) whenever the employees' CW-1 visas were up for renewal, demanding them to pay fees in exchange for continuing to employ them and renewing their CW-1 visas, knowing full well that the employees would have no real choice other than to give in to his demands because the payment of exorbitant recruitment fees would have already left them in a difficult financial situation, often with huge debts to pay.”

Uddin was one of the many victims of Bhuiyan’s scheme, the lawsuit alleged.

It also stated that Uddin was required by Bhuiyan to pay around $11,000 in exchange for hiring him and Uddin did pay this amount of money to Bhuiyan, leaving Uddin in a difficult financial situation where he had no real choice but to continue to work for Bhuiyan.

During this employment with Bhuiyan, Uddin said he was required by Bhuiyan to pay, annually, a fee in exchange for continuing to employ him and renewing his CW-1 visas, and in total Uddin paid around $1,700 to Bhuiyan for those continued employment fees, the lawsuit added.

The federal court in September 2019 ordered IPS and Bhuiyan to pay 14 former security guards $103,181.19 in unpaid wages and overtime.

In June 2021, Jahid Hossen sued IPS and Bhuiyan in federal court, alleging Fair Labor Standards Act violations.

Hossen accused the defendants of not paying him minimum wage, regular wage, and overtime in violation of the provisions of FLSA. He  also alleged breach of contract.

Reporter

Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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