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Former Security Guard Claims RAV Issued Checks it Couldn't Cash

By Mary Johnson | May 21, 2012 1:33pm
Aaron Humphrey, 41, has filed a class action lawsuit against his onetime employer, RAV Investigative & Security Services.
Aaron Humphrey, 41, has filed a class action lawsuit against his onetime employer, RAV Investigative & Security Services.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

KIPS BAY — A New York-based security firm stiffed employees out of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and unlawful paycheck deductions, according to a lawsuit by a former guard at the company.

Aaron Humphrey, 41, said he worked for the New York-based RAV Investigative & Security Services as a nighttime security guard for 14 years before he was fired earlier this year.

In that time, many of his paychecks have bounced, and several institutions have since refused to cash the checks entirely, the lawsuit claims.

Unspecified taxes have been deducted from his wages, according to the suit, and union dues continued to be extracted even after the security guards union, Allied International Union, severed its relationship with RAV Security in 2010.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Humphrey “and other similarly situated current and former employees” in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York earlier this month.

In it, Humphrey is seeking reimbursement for unpaid wages and “unlawful deductions,” as well as an unspecified amount of punitive damages from RAV, which lists the Jacob Javits Convention Center among its many clients.

“I’m getting a raw deal,” said Humphrey, who lives in a public housing building on East 28th Street near First Avenue and is a member of Community Board 6.

“It’s happening to a lot of [other guards], ” Humphrey added.  “A lot of those people have families. A lot of them are immigrants, too. They don’t know how to make noise.”

RAV Security did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Humphrey's attorney, Douglas Lipsky, said no other security guards have joined in the class-action suit as of yet, and the total reimbursement he will seek on Humphrey's behalf has not been determined.

But Humphrey himself estimates he is owed "well in the five figures.”

Humphrey has been meticulously documenting the issues with his former employer for more than a year. Old pay stubs, multiple letters to attorneys and local elected officials as well as reports to the National Labor Relations Board now fill a tattered, accordion-style folder at least 6 inches thick.

Humphrey said that many of his paychecks have bounced over the years, and the resulting fees have chipped away at his income.

Humphrey said several banks have since declined to accept his paychecks, and he is now holding onto a stack of un-cashed checks that total roughly $3,000.  

In addition, while union dues were being regularly deducted from Humphrey’s paycheck, the Allied International Union stopped representing RAV employees after November of 2010, according to the suit.

“[The company is] exploiting people during hard economic times,” he said.

“The reason why I’m doing this is the hope that others become inspired too and come forward and claim what’s rightfully theirs.”