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Workers Claim Abuse Across Eastern U.S.

Courthouse News Service (04/24/12) Adam Klasfeld

A complaint under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by 17 Filipino workers accuses several employers and staffing firms in Florida, South Carolina, and New York of luring them to the U.S. under H-2B guest worker status between 2006 and 2009. The workers claim they were promised fair pay, humane treatment, and green cards, but instead they received less than minimum wages, were not given overtime pay, and were forced to fulfill their contracts under threat of deportation and arrest. They also were told they would lose their $1,200 to $2,350 security deposits if they stopped working. Among the defendants are Lincoln Road Employment Advisory Services and South Beach Employment Advisory Services. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of RICO fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Alien Tort Statute, and the Fair Labor Standards Act and seeks treble damages.