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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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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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

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Empowering Workers to Recover Earned Wages: Miles v. Ella Bliss Beauty Bar

Representing manicurist Lisa Miles, Towards Justice and co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court alleging that Ella Bliss Beauty Bar systematically stole employees’ wages in blatant violation of state and federal law. Workers allege that Ella Bliss implemented systematic, written policies that were clearly illegal and denied workers the hard-earned wages needed to support their families. Ella Bliss Beauty Bar forced its service technicians to perform janitorial work without pay, refused to pay overtime, withheld tips, and shorted commissions. Ms. Miles not only seeks her own back wages, but also the wages stolen from all Ella Bliss Beauty Bar Service Technicians. Towards Justice represents the plaintiff with co-counsel Killmer Lane & Newman LLP.

Case Documents

Complaint

Press Releases

5/17/2018 Workers Sue Posh Ella Beauty Bar for Wage Theft

Press

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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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