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Immigration Law

CA8 on FLSA: Lucas v. Jerusalem Cafe

"For varying periods between June 2007 and March 2010, Elmer Lucas and five other aliens (collectively, workers), without employment authorization, toiled in the Jerusalem Cafe (Cafe), some for less than minimum wage and all without receiving overtime wages. The workers sued the Cafe, and its then-owner Farid Azzeh and manager Adel Alazzeh (collectively, employers), for willfully violating the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.. After a jury decided in the workers’ favor, the district court awarded the workers minimum and overtime wages, statutory liquidated damages, and legal fees. The district court denied the employers’ motion for judgment as a matter of law, rejecting the argument that the workers, as aliens without work authorization, lacked standing to sue. The employers appeal, contending the FLSA does not apply to employers who illegally hire unauthorized aliens. We disagree. The FLSA does not allow employers to exploit any employee’s immigration status or to profit from hiring unauthorized aliens in violation of federal law. Exercising our jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm." - Lucas v. Jerusalem Cafe, July 29, 2013.