Illegals sue Wal-Mart for violating labor laws

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by church mouse guy, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
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    "Nine illegal immigrants who worked as janitors at Wal-Mart...until they were arrested during federal raids last month have sued the company, accusing it of discrimination.

    "The nine say they were paid lower wages and offered fewer benefit because they are Mexicans, and they accuse Wal-Mart and its cleaning contractors of failing to pay for overtime, withhold taxes or make required workers' compensation contributions.

    "Their lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Superior Court...in Freehold, seeks more than $200,000 in back pay."

    Ladies and Gentlemen, some lawyers have no shame.

    In case you have not read about this, the rest of this story about the illegals can be read at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102599,00.html
     
  2. Daisy

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    It's the employers who tried to cheat their employees who have no shame. It sounds as though they knowingly, deliberately hired illegal workers so they could exploit them.

    Labor law is separate from immigration law in that you can't get around paying legal wages by hiring illegal workers. If the employers get away with illegal wages, then they have no incentive for hiring legal workers.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    But how does a lawbreaker (illegal immigrant) get standing in the legal system to sue anyone??? Wal-mart was wrong to be sure. But these illegals need to be sent back where they came from.

    Illegal immigration is a huge drain on our society. The discussions that are going on about medical benefits and education and all this is staggering. They should be immediately sent back to teh border from which they came without any delay.
     
  4. The Galatian

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    It appears that the contractors violated the law by cheating their employees as well as by bringing them in illegally.

    Being guilty of one does not mean you aren't liable for the other. Why should we reward them for being crooks by letting them cheat their employees?

    Being here illegally does not mean that one becomes an "unperson". One still has rights, just by virtue of happening to be in a free country.

    I've spent a lot of time working with employers in the past. Undocumented workers are here because they can't get American workers to do the work in many cases. Undocumented workers pay taxes like regular workers, but they rarely see any benefits.

    These workers certainly were paying for education and medical care through taxes deducted from their pay, and from rent or property taxes on the places in which they lived.

    They paid sales taxes, gasoline taxes, and every other kind American workers do. Yet they don't draw the same benefits. They are less likely to have family here, so their taxes for education are not benefitting them.

    Fact is, they are important to the economy, but we aren't willing to face it. It would be better for everyone if we could find a way to deal with it realistically.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    How did they cheat their employees by hiring illegal workers?

    And who suggested that illegal workers were "unpersons"?? The fact is that they are people with no legal standing. They pay taxes on gasoline and get the benefits of driving on roads. The truth is that they get all kinds of benefits. But that does not change the fact that they are here illegally. The realistic way to deal with it is send them home and let them come here legally. It is the taxpayer that is paying the most for these people. We are a nation of laws. The country whose laws they are suing under is the country whose laws they broke. As you said, Being guilty of one does not mean you aren't liable for the other. Why should we reward them for being crooks???
     
  6. The Galatian

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    By not paying them the wages they were due, among other things.

    Anyone who says that they have no legal standing.

    Turns out that they have legal standing. Check with your Constitution.

    So, that means that they are like any other citizen. That is a benefit to America.

    Often, they use a common SSAN, so they never see retirement benefits. They don't often use schools, but they pay property taxes (directly, or as rentors)

    And that doesn't change the fact that their employers must pay them what they are owed.

    I know you think so, but so far you haven't shown that to be true.

    I agree, but I don't see how that means that their employers are not required to follow the law.

    I don't know of any law that says the law no longer applies to you, if you break one of them.

    We should not reward employers who dishonestly hire illegal aliens. We should prosecute them, and make them pair whatever they owe. If we don't, we are rewarding them for their dishonesty.

    If you want to fine undocumented workers, you should let your representative in Congress know. But we should not let a crooked employer cheat his workers.
     
  7. CalvinG

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    From the way the story is written, it looks as if these illegals worked for a cleaning contractor and not directly for Wal-Mart. If that is the case, Wal-Mart may or may not have paid the cleaning contractor market rates for cleaning its facilities. If Wal-Mart paid market rates for cleaning, it may be that Wal-Mart is a victim here and the cleaning contractors pocketed money that should have gone to wages. Let us not assume Wal-Mart is culpable until this is proven.

    Some employer did pay less than minimum wage to these persons. I somehow find myself wishing that double the amount of deficiency would be paid to the federal treasury rather than to these illegal immigrants to reward and encourage their illegal entry into the country and illegally working without having a "green card." But I doubt that will happen.

    These illegals apparently got the benefit of their illegal bargain. I would like to see the laws changed so that they cannot get more.
     
  8. Gina B

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    That's completely ridiculous! This is one messed up country.
    Reminds me of the thief who burglarized a home, fell and broke his leg, sued the homeowner, and won.
    Since the illegals got busted the money they win will be spent in Mexico, right?
    If people wonder why other countries hate us it's probably because we're pretty stupid!
    Gina
     
  9. Daisy

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    The illegal workers will undoubtedly be deported if they have not already been. However, they did do the work and they deserve compensation as allowed by law. If not, then it would amount to slave labor.

    If the company who hired them is allowed to get away with it, then they have no incentive to hire American labor and every reason not to.

    If it's any comfort, the lawyers, who are probably American citizens, will get more money than any one worker - possibly more than all if you include expenses.
     
  10. Johnv

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    One's residency status has no bering on whether they can collect damages. If someone was damaged, they were damaged. If that were not the case, we'd have businesses purposefully hiring known illegals and then refusing to pay them on purpose.

    Additionally where one's money is speant is irrelevant. If I win damages and decide to go to Mexico and blow it, that's within my purvue.

    But I agree with the previous post regarding Walmart. It doesn't appear to me that Walmart did anything wrong. It looks like the contractor that hired the workers would be at fault. The only way that would be different is if it was proven that Walmart knowingly conspired with the contractor to hire illegals for the purpose of evading the law. But Walmart employs thousands, and the only illegal employees the feds could find were these contractors.
     
  11. Gina B

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    John, when an illegal illegally enters a country and illegally gets a job it is a well known fact that they will be getting paid less. Otherwise there's no point in employers hiring illegals and breaking laws if they're going to pay them the same as they pay citizens.
    They weren't paid less because they were Mexicans, they were paid less because they were illegals.
    If I slam on my brakes for no reason and the person behind me hits me I'm sure I *could* sue them, but if I'm an idiot I should take responsibility for being one and pay my own damages.
    Nevermind. LOL Common sense is absent from American thought, there's no point in trying to make points anymore because the government can do it for us. I don't know why I bother with this stuff...
    Gina
     
  12. Johnv

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    Certainly, that's why illegal immigration is alive and well: a lack of legal residents willing to take thelow pay, or the lack of companies willing to pay the going rate. Now, in some cases, a company will knowingly hire illegals. In other cases, the illegal employee will use fraudulent paperwork to give the appearance that he/she is legally allowed to work here (in which case the employee would not be liable for any broken laws).

    If the situation in this case is that they were paid what was offerred, then that's a slam dunk. However, if they can prove in court that the decision to hire them and pay them was based mostly on their ethnicity, then they've got a good case and a cause for damages. That being said, I don't think that's the case (although they still have the right to have their case heard), and I don't think that Walmart is the correct party to sue as respondent.


    Not ncecessarily. If you're at a stoplight, and it turns green, and you accelerate quickly and then slam on your brakes, you will probably be liable for your damages and the car behind you (at a stoplight situation, the person in the lead has an assumption of reasonable assurance of entering the intersection safely). If, however, you're out in open road, and you slam on your brakes for no reason, the assumption is that the person behind you, knowing it's a high speed situation, must be responsible for leaving an adequate amount of space between you and him to allow for stops and lane changes.
    I think it's just the opposite. We as a society refuse to take responsibility for our actions, so we are left with no alternative but to seek civil action in court. I've had to go to court three times: Once was a harrassment case against my supervisor (for which my supervisor was eventually fired), once was a small caims case against a car wash (which had done damage to my vehicle), and once to recover charges made by a company to my credit card. If these folks had taken responsibility for their actions, then I would not have had to seek a legal remedy.
     
  13. Alcott

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    If someone knows the laws... if I moved to Mexico, would I be legally entitled to have a ballot printed in English to vote? would I be immediately avalable for welfare benefits? if I committed a crime and were arrested, would I be released by claiming my rights were not given to me in a language I could understand? if I moved there illegally and went to work for a "sweat shop" that paid less than minimum wage (supposing they have one), could I sue the business for back pay?
     
  14. Johnv

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    Alcott, the difference between Mexico and the US is that they have an official language adopted by the State. We have no official language.

    However, you bring up some good points: Voting laws require that ballots be made available in the predominant languages. In California, that would be English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese (the four most prominent languages of registered voters). In Hawaii, that would be English, Hawaiian, and Japanese. In Louisiana, that would be Ehglish and French. In Washington, that would be English and Canadian... okay, maybe not but I think you get the picture. But the point is that if you're in a minor language (for example, if you speak Portuguese in Southern California), then you're out of luck. Other countries with multiethnic polulations have similar elections, For example, Elections in Spain have ballots in Castillian, Spanish, and Catalonian. Elections in Canada are in English and French.

    As far as public access benefits, if you move to Canada or even if you're there on vacation, and you're injured or sick, your medical care is subsidized by the government.

    As far as being arrested, we have miranda laws, that state a person must be informed of his legal rights. There are more English speaking people released because they weren't informed of their rights than there are Spanish speakers, so I fail to see what you're getting at. But if you're in a Mexico prison, you'll typically be met by an official wo will explain your arrest in English so that you may arrange for legal counsel.

    I'm not sure what you're getting at with the sweat shop example, but sweat shops are illegal in the US. If they're legal elsewhere, that's of no consequence to how we govern our labor practices. Also, the minimum wage is just that, the minimum wage. If you were paid less than the minimum wage, you're entitled to pay up the minimum wage for all hours work below that amount. Other coutnries set their minimum wages at whatever level they choose. We have no right to say to a worker "the country you're from pays less than minimum, so I'm going to pay you less than minimum". If that were the case, it would be racism based on national origin.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    The context of your quote indicated that you though they were cheating their legal employees by hiring illegal ones.

    Non sequitur. "No legal standing" does not equal "unperson." I can't file suit against a number of different companies because I have no legal standing. That doesn't make me a non-person.

    Demonstrate for us from the constitution where illegal aliens have legal standing.

    Except for that pesky thing called "legal residency." Why is that hard to understand??

    That was not the question. The question is How they have standing to sue?

    I didn't set out to show it to be true. It is shown to be true by the law of the land. It is your burden to show why we should not follow the law of the land.

    Nobody said they were :rolleyes:

    Unrelated to anything said here.

    I agree.

    These laws are already there. Every employer is to have a I9 form for their workers. I am not asking for any laws to be changed. Let's uphold the ones we already have.

    But the simple point is this: By allowing illegal aliens to use our justice to sue, you are rewarding their lawbreaking. If they were law abiders (and hence in their own country) they could not use our justice system. If they were law abiding legal aliens, they could use our justice system by virtue of their legal status. But the point you make about the employee (with which I agree) is the same point you should be making about the illegal aliens. Because you didn't, someone else had to step in and make it for you.
     
  16. Johnv

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    I hate to take issue with you, especially since I agree with much of what you say. But if a person is here illegally, and someone violated the law with them as the victim, then by not allowing legal remedy, the transgressor is being sent a message that what they did was lawful. Herein lies the crux of the problem. Hence, I say, let them sue, and when the suit is disposed of, return them to their country of origin.

    There's no real way to be extremist on one part of the issue without unduly favoring the other. You either look like you're favoring illegal aliens, or favoring big business. Not that either of those may be true, but that's the impression that would be given.
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Here is my question. What exactly is the suit?? Is it a civil suit or a criminal one?? A criminal suit is teh state agianst the company. A civil suit is different in that an individual or a class brings it against a company. (Someone help me if I am wrong on this).

    I did not read the suit carefully. My thought was that they were suing to get monetary reparations ... with the net effect that they make money off of their illegal status.

    I say punish the company who hired them. But the illegal aliens shouldn't benefit from that. If they are needed to make the case, keep them here until it is over and then send them home. They should not profit from their illegal status.

    This is true ...
     
  18. Johnv

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    It's a civil suit. Of course, no one should make money from an illegal activity. But the question in the suit was not their status, but that they were paid lower wages because of their ethnicity. If they were, then they should be allowed to recover damages imo, and afterwards be deported, assuming they hadn't by then received legal permission to work.

    Anyway, I think we're more in agreement than not: Neither of us wants someone to profit from an illegal activity, be that the worker or the company. But to spank one, the other gets a pat oon the back. Kind of a catch 22.
     

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