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Immigration Status Irrelevant In FLSA Suit: Judge

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

 The immigration status of two restaurant workers is irrelevant to whether they can represent a class seeking unpaid wages and overtime compensation from their former employer, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled on March 23.  Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts decided that courts do not have discretion to deny an award of damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of the immigration status of the plaintiffs.

“If a plaintiff makes out an FLSA case, he is entitled to an FLSA remedy, any obstruction or interference with immigration policy notwithstanding,” the judge said.  The question was one of first impression in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Other federal courts have determined that illegal aliens have a right to recover unpaid wages under the FLSA, but the Massachusetts judge rejected their way of getting there and used his own original reasoning. (click on link to read full story) 

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