Five foreign guest workers who wound up in Texas will share $14 million as victims of human trafficking. The decision offers lessons for any employer using guest workers.
This case shows that simply threatening deportation may be enough to land you in legal hot water.
Recent case: A group of foreign workers brought in after Hurricane Katrina to help with rebuilding alleged that they borrowed heavily in their native countries in order to pay fees to gain the necessary visas to work in Texas. Once here, they say they were threatened with being reported to immigration authorities and being forced to return home with their debts unpaid if they tried to quit.
The court said employees threatened with deportation can allege trafficking violations and the case went to trial. The jury agreed and awarded the men $14 million. (Joseph v. Signal, No. 1:13-CV-324, ED TX, 2015)