Building firm noted worker to immigration officials as retaliation, federal government legal professionals allege

José Martin Paz Flores had damaged his leg right after slipping off a ladder at function, and his boss at Tara Construction experienced promised to help, telling him to appear to the office environment at a particular time to acquire a payment, Paz testified on Monday in federal court.

But minutes soon after Paz picked up an envelope stuffed with cash and hobbled to a friend’s truck on crutches, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement brokers arrested him for residing in the country illegally as his 2-year-old son appeared on, Paz claimed.

“I was destroyed,” said Paz, 42, who is at the centre of a civil lawsuit introduced by the US Office of Labor from Tara Construction. The government alleges that the West Bridgewater enterprise and its chief govt officer, Pedro Pirez, retaliated towards Paz since he reported the 2017 incident, triggering an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Wellness Administration.

For the duration of opening statements on Monday, Labor Division attorney Suzanne Reilly advised jurors that Tara Development orchestrated Paz’s arrest in an energy to get him deported since it experienced enable its staff payment coverage lapse and did not want to shell out Paz, who entered the state illegally from Honduras in 2000 and lives in Malden.

“They could have owned up to the repercussions of what transpired but they didn’t they retaliated against an hurt employee,” Reilly reported. The legal guidelines that secure staff members implement to all workers, regardless of whether they are documented or not.”

She urged jurors to discover that the enterprise retaliated towards Paz and is seeking punitive and compensatory damages for his emotional distress “to ensure that justice is finished.”

But Daniel J. Dwyer, a law firm who represents Tara Construction and Pirez, stated, “The nutshell of this situation is that Jose Martin Paz Flores is a man who sowed confusion about who he was, very possible deliberately, for the reason that he was an undocumented worker who had been ordered deported and experienced one thing of a previous.”

Paz went by the title Martin Paz and provided a fake Social Security card and green card to get employed, Dwyer mentioned. The company grew to become worried when the hospital termed just after Paz’s accident, indicating that he went by a diverse name, Jose Flores.

Pirez questioned his cousin, a Boston police detective, to examine Paz’s accurate identification, which led to the discovery that he was in the nation illegally, triggering a call to ICE, he reported. He explained Pirez as a Cuban immigrant, whose father was despatched to prison by Fidel Castro, and that he appreciates what household suffering is, and “would by no means do everything so cruel to a person else.”

“Nobody meant to do everything in receiving to the bottom of who he was,” claimed Dwyer, including that there was no retaliation by the firm. “They had to do it and when they did it, the truth of the matter came out. And when the real truth arrived out, a unhappy matter transpired for Mr. Paz. He was arrested by ICE … and now he has thrown the blame on someone else.”

Dwyer advised jurors that Tara Construction experienced compensated additional than $375,000 for workers’ payment insurance policy but realized that its protection had lapsed the day just before Paz’s accident, for failing to make a $2,000 payment. He reported the company rapidly paid out the monthly bill and believed its protection had been reinstated.

On the early morning of March 29, 2017, Paz, a married father of five, said he was doing work as a drywall taper at a Roxbury condominium advanced when he fell from a ladder and broke his leg. He was rushed to the clinic by ambulance and underwent surgery.

Paz testified that Pirez was the initially man or woman to stop by him at the clinic and the two talked about his injuries and when he experienced final visited his loved ones in Honduras.

“I informed him the only point I need is for you to help me get better,” Paz explained. He told jurors it was the initially time he had an incident at get the job done and was fearful due to the fact he was the sole company for his spouse and small children.

When Pirez was about to depart, he patted him on the shoulder and instructed him, “I’m going to help you out,” Paz said. He mentioned Pirez didn’t convey to him that the company’s workers’ payment insurance policy experienced lapsed, but figured out about it later when he submitted a declare.

Right after the accident, Paz stopped by the firm after to choose up paychecks. Pirez then directed him to arrive to the office environment on May well 10, 2017, when he handed him an envelope with income and viewed by means of a glass door as he climbed into a truck alongside his 2-12 months-outdated son and his pal, Paz testified.

He stated they ended up stopped by ICE agents about a block or two absent from the workplace. Agents warned him that his son would be placed in state custody if his spouse didn’t occur to get him. He claimed he spent two months in custody at a Boston jail.

For the duration of cross-assessment, Paz admitted he labored for several organizations and offered a pretend Social Security card and eco-friendly card to get employed. He explained he was employed by Tara Construction just two times before the incident but experienced worked for them a couple of occasions just before.

Paz was asked if he understood that the Labor Section secretary had intervened on his behalf to continue to keep him in the United States right after his arrest so he could testify in opposition to Pirez.

“I don’t know who intervened, but in this article I am,” Paz mentioned.

Shelley Murphy can be attained at [email protected]. Adhere to her on Twitter @shelleymurph.

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