Companies often see advantages to hiring immigrants for menial jobs. They’re usually willing to work for very little money, and immigrants living and working in the United States illegally are usually too afraid to speak out against unfair working conditions.
However, all employees working in the United States are protected under the same labor laws, regardless of their citizenship status. This includes payment of no less than the federal minimum wage (which is currently set at $7.25 per hour), and the proper overtime compensation for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all workers are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime work.
According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit, the owners of two California bakeries allegedly brought eleven Filipino workers to the U.S. under false pretenses. According to the wage and hour lawsuit, the workers were allegedly made to believe they were being brought to the U.S. to fill jobs as skilled chefs and managers at L’Amande French bakery, a cafe and pastry shop with locations in Beverly Hills and Torrance.
Instead, the workers were allegedly made to perform menial tasks before opening the bakeries each day, including laundry and construction work. The lawsuit further alleges they were made to work up to 13 hours a day, earning only two dollars an hour. This constitutes a failure to pay the legally mandated minimum wage, as well as the proper overtime compensation.
The lawsuit also alleges the workers were not provided with the proper meal and rest breaks as required by California law. Under California labor law, all hourly employees are entitled to a paid rest break of at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.
Failing to properly pay workers for all the time they spend working can also be considered unfair business practices. Companies that skimp on their employees’ compensation gain an unfair advantage over competitors that properly pay their workers fair wages for all the work they perform.
Not only did the owners of L’Amande French bakery allegedly fail to abide by local and federal labor laws, but because they allegedly brought immigrants to the U.S. under false pretenses, they are also subject to trafficking violations. As a result, the class action lawsuit is alleging violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and Civil Rights Act, in addition to the FLSA and state labor laws.
The class action wage and hour lawsuit is seeking at least $1 million in unpaid wages and damages. If the plaintiffs are successful in seeking redress for all their violations, the bakeries could find themselves paying much more in fines and backpay than if they had simply obeyed the labor laws in the first place. L’Amande French bakery denies all of the claims.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Skokie and Joliet. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Naperville and Aurora overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.