Caddo Parish School Board Lawyer: “No Penalty, Just Unpaid Wages For Filipino Teachers”

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – The Caddo Parish School Board in Shreveport, Louisiana merely paid the $128,760 to its 43 Filipino teachers as unpaid wages to comply with the “uniform pre-existing practices of the Caddo Parish School Board and the United States Department of Labor,” according to the Board’s lawyer, Mark G. Murov of Murov & Ward, L.L.C. based in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Murov clarified to the Journal Group Link International that “Caddo Parish School Board was not fined nor penalized in any way by the DOL or any agency. “The back pay awards were calculated by the DOL based solely on amounts which Universal Placement Inc. (UPI) and Attorney Robert Silverman charged the teachers in violation of Federal Regulations.”

According to DOL documents authorized by Caddo Parish School Board General Counsel Reggie Abrams to be emailed to this reporter, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division in New Orleans ordered the Caddo Parish School Board to pay the unpaid wages of the 43 Filipino school teachers $128,760 for ten months from Aug. 9, 2008 to Nov. 21, 2009. Each teacher stands to collect an average of $2,994.

Mr. Murov said, “We also want to correct some misinformation. The salaries paid to the teachers were legal. They were computed correctly and in compliance with the uniform pre-existing practices and policies.

“Moreover, the payments to the teachers in 2009 and 2011 did not result from a negotiated settlement; there were no offers or counteroffers. The DOL analyzed the matter independently and unilaterally issued the attached order. The Caddo Parish School Board paid the amounts promptly and in full.”

EARLY REPORTS PEG PAYMENT AT $57,380

Earlier, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a school board in Shreveport, Louisiana to pay 43 of the 300 Filipino school teachers $57,380 for the board’s failure to pay for their immigration fees and for underpaying them with entry level rates although they have advanced degrees.

According to ktbs.com, a broadcast station in Shreveport, each of the Filipino teachers will be receiving $1,300 from Caddo Parish School Board.
The Shreveport Times reported that by a 10-2 vote, the Caddo Parish School Board agreed to resolve the issue with the U.S. Department of Labor for $57,380 as party to an issue that relates to Caddo Parish’s responsibility involving Universal Placement International (UPI).

Caddo hired the Filipino teachers in 2008 thru Universal Placement International based in Los Angeles, California, and UPI’s recruiting agents in the Philippines for the “hard-to-fill positions teaching English, Math, Science and Special Education in some Caddo Schools.”

Atty. Don A. Hernandez, based in Pasadena, California, lawyer for UPI and UPI’s Lourdes Navarro, however, believes the $57,380 is the balance the Caddo Parish School Board owes the teachers for underpaying them as entry-level teachers when it (board) “did not and refused to give any credit to the teachers for their prior teaching experience and educational degrees when they started.”

Mr. Hernandez said, “For the record, the blame for the penalty paid by Caddo Parish School District lies entirely with it, not with our clients. Caddo Parish School Board is the only district in the State of Louisiana that did not and refused to give any credit to the teachers for their prior teaching experience and educational degrees when they started. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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