Restoring Liberty While Awaiting Justice

In this case, Towards Justice’s clients allege that bail bond sureties and some bail bond agents in California have colluded to keep bail premiums at the maximum level allowed by law. Every year, nearly one million people are arrested and taken into custody in California, and over 60% of people in California jails are there because they cannot afford to pay bail. For far too many people, the cost of a bail bond is the cost of liberty, and because of the alleged collusive practices, that cost is out of reach for many who might be able to afford a bail bond if the market were operating competitively.

Case Documents

Complaint

Press

1/29/2019 Bail companies in California have conspired to keep premiums high, lawsuit alleges

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Fighting Wage Suppression for Au Pairs: Beltran, et al v. Interexchange, Inc., et al

Towards Justice attacks systemic injustices that undermine the bargaining power and working conditions of marginalized workers. In 2014, Towards Justice filed a case on behalf of a nationwide class of tens of thousands of childcare workers who worked in the U.S. on J-1 au pair visas. They brought claims of price fixing, racketeering, and wage theft against fifteen U.S. Department of State-designated “cultural exchange” sponsor organizations. Plaintiffs charged that these sponsors acted as a cartel to illegally set au pair wages far below the market rate and that some sponsors fraudulently misled potential au pairs in violation of racketeering and consumer protection laws. The plaintiffs prevailed on several threshold legal issues and certified a class of tens of thousands. On the eve of trial, the plaintiffs announced that they had entered into a settlement with the defendants that would require the payment of $65.6 million in damages and several changes in the industry. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP. In 2019, the Court preliminarily approved a settlement.

For more information about the proposed settlement or if you are a class member, please refer to the website aupairclassaction.com

Case Documents

Magistrate Recommendation re: Motion to Dismiss

Order Denying Motion to Dismiss

Class Certification Order

Motion for Preliminary Approval

 

Press Release

 

3/19/2015 Vulnerable Child Care Workers Sue for Collusion and Fraud in Nationwide Au Pair Program

Press

3/7/2019 $65.5M au pair settlement in Denver lawsuit would be divided up under formula

1/10/2019 $65.5 M au pair deal would be divided up under formula

1/9/2019 Thousands of au pairs could share in $65.5 million U.S. settlement

1/9/2019 Au pairs win $65.5 million settlement in Denver lawsuit

1/9/2019 Au Pairs Reach $65.5 Million Settlement Over Wages

1/9/2019 Au Pair Sponsor Agencies Settle Wage Lawsuit, Offer $65.5 Million In Back Pay

8/28/2018 Long Hours, Low Wages and Lawsuits Plague the Federal Au Pair Program

3/30/2018 Au Pairs, an International Class of Domestic Workers, Are Suing for Labor Protections 

2/13/2018 Au Pair Class Action Could Upend Decades-Old Program

3/31/2017 Au Pairs Get Conditional Cert. In Wage-Fixing Action

11/5/2016 Host of problems

11/3/2016 Are au pairs cultural ambassadors or low-wage nannies? A lawsuit enters the fray

7/28/2015 This lawsuit over au pair wages is hardly child’s play

7/25/2015 Can Au Pairs Legally Be Paid Less Than $5 An Hour?

7/14/2015 Au pairs backed by Boies Schiller move to keep antitrust case alive

7/13/2015 Au Pairs Fight To Keep Wage-Fixing Class Action Alive

7/13/2015 Au pairs claim price fixing, wage theft in suit filed in Colorado; local group among those named

7/6/2015 Au pairs with J-1 visas sue sponsor agencies

4/20/2015 Au Pair Companies Want Out Of J-1 Visa Wage-Fixing Suit

3/20/2015 Au pairs provide cheap childcare. Maybe illegally cheap.

3/20/2015 Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Criminally Low Pay For Colorado Domestic Workers

3/7/2015 AU PAIRS AND MASSACHUSETTS LABOR LAW: CULTURAL EXCHANGE OR EXPLOITATION?

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Fighting Forced Labor in Private Immigrant Detention Centers: Menocal et al v. GEO Group Inc.

Towards Justice fights to end labor trafficking whether in the form of individualized cruelty or systemic, structural coercion. In 2014, together with co-counsel, Towards Justice filed a class action lawsuit against the GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), which operates a 1,500 bed immigrant detention facility in Aurora, CO. The suit, brought by civil detainees who worked for GEO for either $1 per day or for no wages at all and under threat of solitary confinement, alleges that GEO violated state law and federal prohibitions against forced labor. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Outten & Golden LLP, The Kelman Buescher Firm, Milstein Law Office, Law Office of R. Andrew Free, and The Meyer Law Office, PC.

Case Documents

Class Certification Ruling

Tenth Circuit Order Affirming Class Certification

District Court Denial of Motion to Dismiss

Our Tenth Circuit Brief

Press Releases

2/9/2018 The Tenth Circuit Upholds Class Certification in Immigrant Detainees’ Forced Labor Case against The GEO Group, Inc.

7/8/2015 Landmark Ruling: Immigrant Detainees’ Class Action Claims For Forced Labor, Unjust Enrichment May Proceed Against The GEO Group, Inc.

Press

4/4/2018 When Migrants Are Treated Like Slaves

11/30/2017 New Report Questions Detainee Labor Compensation at Private Prisons

11/21/2017 Big Money As Private Immigrant Jails Boom

6/22/2017 Ex-detainees: Detention center’s practices border on slavery

6/9/2017 The Use of Forced Labor in Private Immigration Detention Centers

4/11/2017 Lawsuit May Set Precedent On Forced Immigrant Labor In Private Prisons

4/3/2017 How a Private Prison Company Used Detained Immigrants for Free Labor

3/8/2017 Class Certification Granted in Detention Center Lawsuit

3/7/2017 Can for-profit prisons force detained immigrants to work?

3/5/2017 A Colorado judge just granted 62,000 former immigrant detainees the right to sue GEO Group over forced labor, enrichment

3/5/2017 Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws

3/3/2017 About 60,000people now involved in lawsuit claiming forced labor at Aurora immigration detention center

3/2/2017 Class action suit: Immigrants held in Aurora required to work for $1 aa day, threatened with solitary if refused

3/1/2017 Forced to work? 60,000 undocumented immigrants may sue detention center

2/28/2017 Prison Slavery: Over 50,000 Detainees Claim Forced Labor, Sue Private Prison Company

2/28/2017 Forced labor dispute: Detained immigrants suing a private prison company over forced labor move forward with groundbreaking class action

2/27/2017 Detainees Sue Private Prison for ‘Forced Labor’

2/27/2017 Judge OKs Class of 50K Detainees In TVPA Suit Against GEO

8/5/2015 Prison Co. Seeks Reconsideration In Detainee Labor Suit

7/23/2015 At Low Pay, Government Hires Immigrants Held At Detention Centers

7/15/2015 Judge OKs forced labor lawsuit against detention center contractor

7/10/2015 Private Prison Company Forced Immigrants To Work For Free, Lawsuit Says

7/8/2015 GEO Lawsuit Alleging Forced Labor of Immigrant Detainees Moves Forward

10/31/2014 Detention Center Forced Immigrants To Work For $1 Per Day Or Face Solitary Confinement Lawsuit Says

10/27/2014 Colorado Immigrant Detainees’ Labor Claims May Be Part of National Issue

10/23/2014 Lawsuit Accuses Aurora private prison of paying immigrants $1 a day

10/23/2014 Immigrant Detainees In Colorado Suing Prison Company Over Labor Practices

10/23/2014 GEO Sued for Minimum Wage and Forced Labor Law Violations, and Unjust Enrichment

10/23/2014 Lawsuit accuses Aurora immigrant jail of forcing inmates to work

Spanish Language Press

7/24/2015 Dan luz verde a demanda contra centro de detencion GEO en Aurora

Immigrants sue GEO detention center

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Protecting Workers with Disabilities from Exploitation: Dugan et. al v. Adelante Development Center, Inc.

Towards Justice filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of New Mexico workers with physical and intellectual disabilities who are employed in “sheltered workshops.” In these workshops, workers with disabilities scan and shred documents, remove staples from paper with their hands, drive around town to retrieve boxes for shredding, fix tears in documents, and perform a variety of other tasks. For their labor, workers are paid less than the New Mexico or Albuquerque minimum wage—sometimes as little as 18 cents per hour. Our clients seek an injunction against this anachronistic practice and backpay for illegal and unfair wages.  

Case Documents

Press Releases

Press

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Redefining Work for Caretakers: Bagoue v. Developmental Pathways

Towards Justice represents a proposed class of caretakers employed at group homes for people with disabilities who were allegedly denied pay for all hours worked and routinely denied overtime pay. In particular, improper designation of substantial work time as “sleep time” left caretakers without compensation for thousands of hours of work. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel The Law Offices of Brian D. Gonzales, PLLC.

Case Documents

Court Ruling Denying Motion to Dismiss

Press

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Recovering Wages for All Hours Worked: Avendano et. al v. Averus Inc. and Michael Shank

Towards Justice represented a group of workers dedicated to cleaning commercial kitchen exhaust hoods who were dramatically underpaid for their hours worked.  These brave workers filed a lawsuit against their employer to recover wages and overtime premiums earned, but which Averus had denied workers by improperly designating numerous work hours each week as wait time or commuting time.  

Case Documents

Order Denying Summary Judgement

Order Certifying Class

Press Release

Press

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Protecting Workers with Disabilities from Exploitation: Dugan et. al v. Adelante Development Center, Inc.

Towards Justice filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of New Mexico workers with physical and intellectual disabilities who are employed in “sheltered workshops.” In these workshops, workers with disabilities scan and shred documents, remove staples from paper with their hands, drive around town to retrieve boxes for shredding, fix tears in documents, and perform a variety of other tasks. For their labor, workers are paid less than the New Mexico or Albuquerque minimum wage—sometimes as little as 18 cents per hour. Our clients seek an injunction against this anachronistic practice and backpay for illegal and unfair wages.  

Case Documents

Press Releases

Press

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Preventing Careless Data Collection from Limiting Job Prospects: Gambles, Merck & Compo v. Sterling Infosystems, Inc.

Towards Justice fights to combat the misuse of big data to harm low-wage workers. Sterling Infosystems, Inc. provides background check services to large employers, including Wal-Mart. Background or credit checks produced by companies like Sterling can reveal intensely personal information and have a significant impact on access to credit and employment prospects. Inaccuracies in background check information are common and have a particularly harsh impact on low-income people and people of color. For example, our clients allege that Sterling’s background checks provided to potential employers designated untraditional addresses, which are more likely to be used as mailing addresses by low-income people, as “high risk indicators,” including addresses that appeared to correspond with hotels, motels, rooming houses, boarding houses, or personal care facilities. Our clients also allege that systematic inaccuracies in Sterling’s background checks inaccurately suggested that the subject of the background check was transient and moved frequently between addresses. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Berger Montague and the Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC.

Case Documents

Press Release

4/15/2017 Colorado Worker Files Class Action Lawsuit Alleging that Careless Backgroound Checks Harm Tens of Thousands of Workers Nationwide

Press

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Fighting Wage Suppression in the Fast Food Industry: Bautista et al v. Carl Karcher Enterprises LLC

Towards Justice combats anticompetitive practices that undermine worker power. In 2017, Towards Justice filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of current and former employees of Carl’s Jr. restaurants alleging that Carl’s Jr. and its franchisor CKE engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the wages and working conditions of the restaurant-based managers who run hundreds of Carl’s Jr. restaurants across the state by agreeing with each other not to hire each other’s workers. They did this even though CKE insisted that it didn’t employ people who worked for franchisees, and instead that franchisees were independent businesses. Our case drew public attention to this issue and helped to initiate public and private enforcement actions around the country. Towards Justice represented the plaintiffs with co-counsel Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP and Tostrud Law Group PC.

Case Documents

Complaint

Response to Motion to Dismiss

Press Release

2/8/2017 Fast Food Workers Allege the Market is Rigged: “No Hire” Agreements Undermine Wages and Wokring Conditions at Carl’s Jr., a CKE Franchise

Press

2/28/2018 Corporate America Is Suppressing Wages for Many Workers

3/22/2017 Lawsuit: Carl’s Jr. Blocked Managers From Accepting Jobs With Other Franchisees

2/10/2017 Labor Secretary Nominee’s Company Hit With Antitrust Class Action 

2/9/2017 Carl’s Jr. Shift Leader Say CKE Restaurants Suppresses Wages

2/9/2017 Employees file antitrust class action against Puzder’s CKE Restaurants

2/8/2017 Suit against Carl’s Jr. parent company alleges unfair business practice to suppress wages

2/8/2017 CKE Restaurants Hit With Antitrust Class Action

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Fighting Systemic Wage Theft and Discrimination: Solis v. The Circle Group

Workers at SkyHouse Denver filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of construction workers nationwide alleging a pattern of wage theft and discrimination at construction sites around the country. Workers accuse Defendants of systematic exploitation by refusing to pay workers for all of the hours they work, refusing to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, and pervasive sex and race discrimination that results in Latina female workers being paid less while performing harder and more dangerous work than other employees. Plaintiffs settled the case in 2017, recovering over $800,000 for the class.  Towards Justice represented the plaintiffs with co-counsel Lowrey Parady LLP.

Case Documents

Complaint

Order Denying Motion to Dismiss

Motion for Final Approval

Press Release

6/2/2016 Construction Workers Allege Stolen Wages and Pervasive Discrimination at SkyHouse Denver and Across the Country

Press

12/20/2017 Denver construction workers recover more than $800,000 after facing wage theft discrimination

12/20/2017 Workers who hung drywall at SkyHouse Denver receive $800K wage settlement

12/20/2017 Workers, advocates celebrate settlements in SkyHouse Denver wage case

6/13/2016 A Handful of Apparently Misclassified Workers Illustrate Big State Problem

6/8/2016 Lawsuit accuses Denver builders of wage theft, sexual harassment and racism

6/2/2016 Denver Construction Workers Allege Wage Theft

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In The Courtroom

Our litigators help workers advance legal claims that address systemic injustice. We use antitrust, anti-slavery, fraud, wage-and-hour, and common-law challenges to address the wide variety of practices that nickel-and-dime low-wage workers out of their hard-earned wages. We have represented a hundred thousand childcare workers alleging wage suppression, tens of thousands of immigrant detainees alleging forced labor, and hundreds of construction workers, shepherds, manicurists, janitors, and kitchen hood cleaners. We are leaders in challenging anti-competitive practices that reduce worker bargaining power and support marginalized people who challenge structural impediments to their advancement.

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