ICE Continues to Crackdown as Undocumented Workers Fight Back at Employer for Overtime Pay in Texas Business
Sixty former workers of Load Trail, a leading trailer manufacturing business, have filed a class-action suit against the business for failure to pay for the overtime work.
The workers claim that they have regularly worked around 55 hours per week and were never paid for the overtime. Workers also accuse Load Trail of having paid them in different schemes to avoid the overtime wages. According to federal labor laws, regardless of the workers being undocumented, the employer must pay them overtime compensation.
Load Trail, the country’s fourth-largest trailer manufacturers, had come under the scrutiny of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) before. In 2014 Load Trail paid $444,993 in fines to the immigration authorities for having knowingly hired undocumented immigrants. Last year, once again the company came under the radar of ICE and was found to have employed 160 undocumented workers. The manufacturer had continued to employ the immigrants willfully, knowing that they were undocumented.
A technology company, Allen, was also investigated by the immigration authorities in April 2019, and 280 workers were taken into custody. Dallas is the flashpoint for the highest number of immigration arrests made in the past few years. In the year 2017, the ICE arrests had spiked by 71 percent.
Load Trail misled the employees by informing them that they could continue working, as the fines had been paid. The workers, who are welders and manual laborers, believed this and kept working month after month. If workers asked for their rightful compensation, they were told to leave the job.
An employee also stated that the workers were tricked into believing that the manufacturer was processing the permits for the employees. They even deducted a total of $2,000 spread in small installments, as documentation work for legalizing the immigrant workers. The employees stayed on with the hope that they would get their work permits soon. When the employees, upset by the unfair compensation and the treatment, tried to find a job elsewhere, Load Trail made sure that they did not get the job.
An insider of Load Trail also confirmed that the company evaded the E-verify rules. If the workers did not pass the E-verify conducted by Load Trail, they would hire those workers through their other company, which was not under federal scrutiny. A former employee of Load Trail said that they hired illegal workers for their other company and then transferred them to Load Trail.
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