In a case that shows courts are losing patience with employers that hire undocumented workers and then flout wage-and-hour laws, a federal court has zapped an employer almost $285,000 in unpaid wages and penalties, and another $150,000 to pay the former employees’ legal fees.
Employers shouldn’t expect to get away with ignoring immigration laws and then taking advantage of undocumented workers’ willingness to work for less than minimum wage and no overtime payment.
In the long run, doing so can wind up costing far more than you hoped to save by stiffing workers.
Recent case: Feliciano and other workers at the Jerusalem Café worked long hours—sometimes as many as 80 hours per week—as servers and in other restaurant roles. None had legal authorization to work in the United States and all were paid a set weekly salary in cash, no matter how many hours they worked in a given week. No overtime was ever calculated, either.
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