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Woman: Cleaning company won't pay wages

Posted at 11:16 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 06:59:52-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The day her nephew was murdered, a Fort Myers woman says she was fired from her job, and not paid for her work.

The aunt does not want to be identified because of the violent incident that led up to her nephew's death. Daryl D. Scott was murdered at a home in Fort Myers on Mother's Day. "I got a call about 2 o'clock in the morning when I found out my family member had been murdered," she said.

The aunt says the owner of DCM Janitorial and Facility Maintenance, fired her for calling out of work the day of the tragedy. Although she felt disrespected, she was okay with the decision; but now, she's fighting for payment for the three weeks she says she was employed by the cleaning company. 

The woman worked as a cleaner for DCM Janitorial and Facility Maintenance for only 3 weeks, cleaning department stores like TJ Maxx, and Marshalls. She claims she has not received any payment for her time at DCM, and now she's struggling to make ends meet. "I have a funeral I have to plan, I have bills to pay, I have children I have to feed," she said.

The aunt contacted the company's owner, Denise Lawhon, about payment, and believes her answer was not legal. "Eventually, it led to her telling me she won't pay me for what I worked, and if she does, it'll take her 60 days before she processes it, if so."

4 In Your Corner called Lawhon several times over the last two days. Friday, she finally called back. She would not do an interview, but left us a voicemail saying the following:

"She received a letter, as my responsibility, regarding the labor laws here in Florida. She will receive her final check in 60 days."

We called Florida employment attorney Mike Pierro to discuss the legality of this situation. "There is no 60 day review period or withholding period with regard of a final paycheck," he said. "The check needs to be paid the next regular scheduled payday after the end of the person's employment." 

After consulting with attorneys, 4 In Your Corner investigated the company to find out if DCM Janitorial and Facility Maintenance has a history of pay disputes. On the Lee County Clerk's website, we found 18 lawsuits involving owner Denise Lawhon. Two of those lawsuits were filed against her for unpaid work fees and wages. One was settled with payment, and the other ruled against Lawhon, after which she had to pay the employee.

The woman said she is telling her story because she does not want this to happen to anyone else. "Whoever she hires, or whoever goes through this company, don't. Just don't. Because you'll end up just like me," she said.

4 In Your Corner also looked into DCM Janitorial and Facility Maintenance's Sunbiz page for licensing. The website lists the company's status as inactive. We reached out to Marshalls for comment on DCM, but have not heard back yet.

We will update this story with new information when we get a response.