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Immigrant Workers Win Suit against Employers

Two women hired to work as nannies won a federal lawsuit last week against their employers. A jury awarded Alejandra Ramos and Maria Onelia Maco Castro $125,000 in back wages and damages and found the couple that employed them guilty on five counts, including violating labor and human trafficking laws, according to a press release from the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.

Ramos and Castro were employed in Peru by Patricia Perales and her husband, Javier Hoyle. The women signed a contract agreeing to work 40 hours a week at $7 per hour caring for the couples’ children. Upon arriving in the United States and beginning to work for the Hoyles, the women were forced to work between 15 and 19 hours each day and their duties included cleaning and cooking in addition to childcare. The Hoyles took the womens’ passports and visas and threatened them with arrest or deportation if they tried to leave the family.

Erika Deutsch Rotbart, an attorney representing Ramos and Castro praised the jury’s decision. “Too often, we see situations where immigrants and employees are taken advantage of by employers. It is about time that a domestic worker’s voice is heard. This is a victory for two women who truly deserved their fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” said Rotbart.

The jury found the Hoyles guilty of breaching their contract and of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act wage provisions, the Florida Minimum Wage Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Sources:

Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center Press Release 8/10/09

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