Lawsuit claims hiring firm underpaid laborers at Music City Center
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
There is a new controversy involving the people who helped build Nashville's new convention center.
A group of laborers, many of them homeless, say they were not paid fairly for days of hard work.
Now, a federal lawsuit has been filed claiming that Trojan Labor is underpaying employees or not paying them at all for their construction work.
Trojan is a temporary staffing service that provides primarily unskilled and semi-skilled labor for construction sites, such as the massive Music City Center downtown.
The 21-page lawsuit names two men who say they were homeless when they worked for Trojan Labor. They say they were often not paid or were underpaid after having worked construction jobs.
To work on jobs like the Music City Center, Metro Nashville requires the prevailing wage of $12.24 an hour.
The workers also say Jolene Dressel, owner of Trojan Labor, played favorites when choosing people to hire out for jobs, but she said the lawsuit is nonsense and expects the court to see it that way as well.
"We've done everything that state and federal law requires. It's a bogus suit as far as I can see," Dressel said.
Dressel said she has spoken with people in charge of the convention center project, and she said she hasn't been told to stop sending workers to the work site.
Leonard Russell isn't named in the suit, but he is homeless and said his situation is made even tougher when employers don't hold up their end of the deal.
"Now here it is winter time. They need to be paid all their money. People use you," Russell said.
Dressel said neither of the employees named in the lawsuit ever came to her with complaints.
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