By Raymond R. Rinkol, Jr.
Elmer Lucas v. Jerusalem Cafe, LLC, No. 12-2170 (8th Cir. 2013)
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently ruled that undocumented aliens can sue their employer for not paying them minimum and overtime wages required by federal law. Six individuals, all working without employment authorization, sued their employer, Jerusalem Cafe, for failing to pay them minimum and overtime wages between June 2007 and March 2010.
A jury trial awarded the workers more than $140,000 in actual damages for unpaid wages, more than $140,000 in liquidated damages, more than $150,000 in legal fees, and more than $6,000 in expenses. The employer appealed arguing, among other things, that undocumented aliens are not entitled to minimum wage and overtime protection provided for in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Eighth Circuit disagreed. The Court stated "there is no ‘reason why the fact that' the employers unlawfully hired the workers ‘should exempt' them ‘from paying the' wages ‘that if lawful' they ‘would have to pay.'"
If you have any questions regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act, please contact Ray Rinkol.