04/18/2011 11:52AM

Former employee sues NYRA, claims pressure to issue work permits to illegal aliens

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A former administrative employee of the New York Racing Association has filed a civil lawsuit claiming that the association withheld legally required overtime pay and pressured her to accept incomplete immigration forms to issue permits to employees, according to a copy of the lawsuit.

Patricia Cerda, 43, claimed in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York on April 11 that she was “forced to resign” due to the pressures. She is seeking back wages for unpaid overtime, lost wages, and damages from the “hostile work environment” as a result of the association refusing to address her concerns about the documentation of illegal aliens, according to the lawsuit.

NYRA spokesman Dan Silver said Monday that the association does not comment on pending litigation.

In her lawsuit, Cerda claimed that NYRA managers pushed her to accept incomplete immigration documents to issue work permits in several instances, and she contended that approximately 60 to 100 illegal aliens work at the association or on the association’s three backstretches. Cerda was hired by NYRA in 1990 and was promoted to a manager with the Identification Office in 2006, the lawsuit claims. She resigned in 2010.

The lawsuit also alleges that Cerda was not paid a salary equal to male employees in similar positions and that NYRA refused to pay overtime wages when she worked more than eight hours a day or five days a week.

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