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?

Read More

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

Read More

Combating Fraud that Obfuscates Workplace Rights: Mark v. O.P.E.N. America, Inc. d/b/a OPENWORKS

Towards Justice represents Ruth Mark and a proposed class of cleaning workers employed by OpenWorks. OpenWorks is a cleaning company, but it claims not to employ cleaners. Instead, it requires its workers—many of whom are recent immigrants to the United States—to incorporate into separate LLCs and enter into franchise agreements under which they purportedly operate as independent companies. OpenWorks’s misclassification of its employees not only allows OpenWorks to skirt state and federal labor and employment laws. It also allows it to charge its workers predatory franchise fees and other costs, many of which it finances for its workers, thus indenturing them to OpenWorks with extraordinary debt that often exceeds what OpenWorks’s workers are able to earn through their work. OpenWorks recruits its workers with the false promise that they will own a successful and independent business. Towards Justice’s clients assert fraud and misclassification claims against OpenWorks.

Case Documents

Complaint

Press

Read More

Fighting Injustice in Guest-Worker Programs: Douglas et. al v. Yellowstone Club Operations, LLC; and Hospitality Staffing Solutions LLC:

Several of Towards Justice’s cases focus on systemic injustices in nonimmigrant guestworker programs where visas indenture workers to specific employers that far too frequently exploit their employees and defraud them with false promises of the American Dream. In September 2018, Towards Justice filed a case on behalf of several black Jamaican citizens who spent the winter of 2017-2018 working in Montana as temporary non-immigrant H-2B visa workers for an ultra-exclusive golf and ski resort. According to their allegations, they were promised that the resort would employ them and that they would receive ample pay, including tips and service charges that could amount to $400-$600 or more in a night at the nicest restaurants. They allege that instead they found themselves jointly employed by a temp-staffing firm, which, along with the resort, robbed them of their promised tips and service charges. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Lowrey Parady, LLP.

Case Documents

Complaint 

Press

9/22/18 Bloomberg “Billionaires’ Yellowstone Club Sued for Stiffing Jamaican Staff”

Read More
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.

Towards Justice Newsletter