An undocumented worker who is fired after claiming he isn’t being paid minimum wage can’t collect back pay after his discharge. That’s because illegal immigrants shouldn’t be working anyway.
Recent case: Esau, a car detailer, complained internally that he was being paid less than minimum wage and was fired shortly after.
He sued, alleging that his termination was retaliation for complaining.
The company said it shouldn’t be forced to pay Esau lost wages for the time after he was fired. The reason: He wasn’t legally eligible to work in the United States and therefore hadn’t lost any wages. The court agreed and dismissed the claim. (Mendoza v. Detail Solutions, No. 3:10-CV-2436, ND TX, 2012)
Final note: Generally, even undocumented workers must be paid for the work they did perform. Otherwise, there would be a perverse incentive to hire them.
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- Payroll pain: Can we ask staff to work for no pay?