If you are an undocumented foreign worker in Georgia, do you have rights
Fair Labor Standards Act? It looks like you should have at least some limited rights, if Georgia
courts follow a federal court in Washington state, which recently ruled
that a person’s immigration status does not affect a claim under the FLSA.
BAILON v. SEOK AM#1 CORP (W.D.Wash.12-9-2009), Case No. C09-05483JRC, concerned the defendant’s
requests for discovery that went to the issue of their immigration status.
The case also had a Defendant’s counterclaim, which was dismissed
on similar grounds.
The Plaintiff had sued under the FLSA for back wages. Defendant filed the
usual affirmative defenses (laches, etc.), counterclaimed for indemnification
from the Plaintiff, and asked for discovery based on finding out the employee’s
The court said no to all three claims, stating: “After carefully
reviewing the case law and the facts as alleged by the parties, it appears
that plaintiffs’ immigration status is irrelevant to any issue in
this case. While the Supreme Court ruled that immigration status bars
recovery for future wages, see
Hofman Plastics Compounds v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137, 149, 122 S.Ct. 1275, 152 L.Ed.2d 271 (2002), if the wage
claim involves damages for past work performed, then the immigration status
of the plaintiff is irrelevant.”
Because of that ruling, the Court granted the defendant’s motion
for a Protective Order to keep the defendant from discovering the plaintiffs’
Regarding the defendant’s attempts to recoup the costs of the action
against an employee the court said: “No cause of action for indemnity
by an employer against its employees who violate the Act appears in the
statute, nor in forty years of its existence has the Act been construed
to incorporate such a theory.”
This is a clear win for undocumented aliens who seek protection under the
FLSA. If you are in this situation in the state of Georgia, you should
immediately contact a
Georgia employment attorney to see if this case affects your status.