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'It's a catastrophe' | Medical interpreter says Gwinnett County employer hasn't paid her in months

Stephanie Reyes was among dozens of staff members who hadn't received a paycheck.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Dozens of workers at a metro Atlanta company said they're owed thousands of dollars after the medical interpreting firm just stopped paying them.

They said they have gone to the owner of CulturaLink in Gwinnett County to find out what was going on with their paychecks.

Stephanie Reyes is one of those workers.

Reyes says she loves being a mom, and it made it easier to fall in love with her job as a medical interpreter.

"I was able to do it on my schedule, so I could still be there for my kids. I was working overnight and working all through the night and getting up with my kids so I could be mom," she said. 

She was able to work remotely, at home, and she felt like she was making a difference.

"I had a call when someone had cancer, and they were talking about their treatment and possibly going into hospice and they had to decide what it was that they were going to do. So to make sure you're translating that correctly and the patient understands what you're saying, that's vital," she said. 

But then her paychecks stopped coming, she said.

Reyes worked as a contractor for CulturaLink and said she kept getting the runaround about the outstanding payments.

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"She would say, 'the payment was processed, it will be in your bank in 3 to 5 days,'" Reyes explained. "When nothing is there and you reach out, they disappear, they go ghost."

She started looking around online, and she said she found dozens of other people in the same position. They started a group chat and found most of them were working parents who liked the job because of the flexibility and depend on the income.

"All the emails you get are like, 'sorry for the inconvenience.' And it's like, it's not an inconvenience, it's a catastrophe because we have families that we have to support," she said. 

When Reyes reached out last week, she said CulturaLink owed her $4,000 and the last time she got paid was in April.

11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross called the company Thursday to try and get some answers. Hours after that call, Reyes said all of the money she was owed hit her bank account.

Ultimately, Reyes is glad she got paid but said it shouldn't have taken a news station to get her the money she was owed.

"It's hypocritical, it's kind of like a smack in the face," she said. 

In a statement to 11Alive, the company said they don't talk about their staff with outside parties, but did say they would address concerns from them.

"At CulturaLink, it is our policy to not discuss anything related to our team members with outside parties. We will say that we care about CulturaLink’s interpreters, and we always take all efforts to ensure that they are treated fairly and equitably and that all unresolved issues are addressed."

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