A recent lawsuit in New York City has brought to the fore the issue of illegal aliens and how the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) affects their rights as workers. The company, Cindy’s Total Care, Inc. nail salon responded to an employment lawsuit brought by the DOL by arguing that the employees it skimped on overtime were illegals and so were not covered under the FLSA. The DOL presented evidence found in its investigation of the salon where it found
workers were required to work up to 60 hours per week at a flat daily rate. The U.S. District Court found that the citizenship status of the employees was irrelevant and ordered the company to pay $117,960 in overtime wages plus trial costs and damages.
“By its terms, the FLSA applies to ‘any individual’ employed by an employer … The Act contains no exception or exclusion for persons who are not U.S. citizens or who are in this country illegally,” the court said.
The ruling was not unprecedented as the courts have frequently ruled that the FLSA protects all employees working in the U.S. regardless of immigration status. The reason here is that, were the FLSA not applied in this way, law abiding companies not hiring illegal immigrants would be disadvantaged by those companies hiring illegals and paying them unfair wages.