IMMIGRANT ABUSE


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Foreign labor recruiters in the U.S. have gotten away with serious crimes for too long. For decades, migrant workers and overseas employees recruited to work in America in restaurants, hotels, construction, agriculture, long-term care facilities, hospitals, landscaping, and other industries have endured underpaid and unlawful working conditions at the hand of their employers.

The stories of migrant workers and many recruited from overseas are terrifying. Labor recruitment agencies often match skilled and unskilled workers with employers in the U.S., and more often than not, the employers and recruiters come out on top, and the employees are abused financially and emotionally.

Many recruiters demand high placement fees, and workers are loaded with debt, threatened by employers and stuck in positions that do not resemble what they had been promised.

Workers often struggle with language, workplace discrimination, poor living and work conditions, and are pressured financially and told they may be blacklisted by employers and recruiters if they choose to leave the job early, even when their employers act illegally and face labor recruitment violations.

Workers in the U.S., however, have employment laws and labor rights to embolden their tough situations, and are encouraged to contact labor violation attorneys and human trafficking lawyers to investigate employed immigrant lawsuits.

Many workers can be compensated following unlawful labor recruitment violations and schemes, and employer and illegal labor recruiters can be prosecuted and fined heavily.

Joe Lyon is a Cincinnati, Ohio Labor Trafficking attorney and Labor Rights advocate representing plaintiffs nationwide in immigrant lawsuits based on foreign labor abuse cases and labor recruitment violations.


Labor Trafficking Abuse


Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are recruited to work in the United States on various work visas. The work can range from very skilled, professional positions to unskilled manual labor. The majority of positions filled by migrant workers are low-wage jobs in agriculture and landscaping, nursing and hospitality work in hotels and restaurants.

Legal aliens entering the U.S. can be sponsored with a different visa, depending on the position and work, though all workers have rights by U.S. law. Any employer or recruiter engaging in abusive and unlawful work programs can be brought to justice and lawsuits may be filed to compensate the victims.

When immigrant and migrant workers face fraud, discrimination, coercion, retaliation, forced labor, indentured servitude, or debt bondage, they may locate an employment attorney and consider legal action.


The international labor recruitment industry shows a history of abusive tactics to prey on workers. The stories from migrant workers and immigrants offered positions in the U.S. sound eerily similar, often nightmarish.

Some immigrants pay high recruitment and visa fees as well as travel costs only to find that when they reach their new job in the U.S. that the work program is not what is what they were told. Many workers are forced into paying off a considerable debt at a low wage for many years. Labor recruiters charge very high fees, frequently in lump sums.

To pay job recruiters for a chance at American employment, workers sometimes borrow at high interest rates and at the mercy of their new employers. High debt and an abusive work environment leads to severe troubles financially and emotionally.

Often, workers do not know their rights, and have never heard of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a relatively new law that aims to protect vulnerable workers.

Many immigrant and migrant workers are threatened about seeking legal assistance and leaving the job. Not only that, but most workers struggle with race, language, and sexual discrimination.

Additionally, most internationally recruited workers are bound to a single employer through their visas, so there are few options for changes. If they leave their position early, they face blacklists and may not even get a chance at other work in the U.S.


Trafficking Victims Protection Act


Labor trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. The terms are vague and dark, as are many of the positions that workers find in job placement programs.

Workers regularly face employer and recruiter coercion, threats, blacklisting and severe debt. Before the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was put into place, there was no Federal law to protect victims of human trafficking and unlawful migrant worker programs.

This sort of trafficking is committed by large, organized, sophisticated groups, and they typically are difficult to prosecute. However, new laws in place aim to protect immigrant and overseas workers and to prosecute traffickers of persons under stiff Federal penalties.

Protection and assistance for victims of trafficking include making available housing, education, health care, new visas and job training so victims can rebuild their lives in the U.S. The TVPA law also makes victims eligible for the Witness Protection Program.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act also created new law enforcement tools to strengthen the prosecution and of human traffickers. If a human trafficking crime results in death or if the crime includes kidnapping, child offenses or sexual abuse, the trafficker could be sentenced to life in prison.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 authorized more than $200 million to combat human trafficking. The act provides resources for the 18,000 to 20,000 victims of human trafficking in the United States every year. The most common industries and positions recruiting from overseas include:

  • Agriculture
  • Hospitality—hotels, motels, resorts, golf courses
  • Nursing
  • Construction
  • Landscaping
  • Domestic servitude
  • Factories
  • Assisted living
  • Strip clubs and massage parlors
  • Nail salons and spas

Foreign Recruiter Abuse


Workers from overseas take huge financial and psychological risks when they sign on with foreign labor recruiters. They put their lives in the hands of recruitment agencies, and there are many unknowns regarding their future employment situation.

Farm workers, nurses, students, and many hotel workers are at risk when hired from overseas. The protections offered to foreign and migrant workers are usually limited, and when workers find themselves in a precarious situation, legal action may be the only way out.

Common foreign labor schemes involve deceptive employee marketing to get workers to an employer. Labor recruitment violations are reported each year, including the following:

  • Withheld Wages
  • Unpaid Wages
  • Lower Wage than what was initially promised
  • Misrepresented Jobs
  • Menial labor assigned for what was marketed as skilled labor
  • Poor living quarters provided
  • Illegal debt-bondage schemes
  • Hidden high recruitment fees
  • Sexual and racial discrimination
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Illegal labor contracts
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Forced Labor
  • Paycheck deductions for visa fees—nonimmigrant visa, H-2A visa (agriculture), H-2B visa (construction, hotels, and so forth), J-1 visa (student working as seasonal employees), B1, B2 (domestic workers)

Labor Recruiter Abuse Lawsuits


It doesn’t matter what position a worker has in the United States–we all have rights as employees. Employers can make some workers feel like they have no choice but to work for very little, and make employees feel stuck in unfair and illegal work programs. But there is a way out.

Victims of labor recruitment violations and labor trafficking can contact labor attorney and file labor recruiter abuse lawsuits to recover lost wages, emotional suffering, actual damages, and punitive damages against the fraudulent employers and foreign labor recruiters. Over 40 states have enacted legislation that allow migrant workers and overseas employees to sue their traffickers.

Overseas workers can be extremely vulnerable and employers take unfair advantage of workers. The vast majority think they have no legal recourse, though legal action may be possible.

In addition to common recruiter abuses, most foreign workers are denied other basic labor protections such as workers’ compensation, health insurance, union membership and disability insurance.


Hotel Labor & immigrant Lawsuits


An unfair labor lawsuit was filed recently against the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City for allegedly attracting workers from the Philippines under a deceptive educational work promotion.

Recruiters for the hotel promised the interns on-the-job training and cultural immersion, but the workers found only menial labor and long hours for a low wage. The hotel used internship program visas to gather cheap labor and avoided travel costs and other fees, according to plaintiffs in the case.

Such immigrant exploitation incidents are not uncommon and deceptive labor recruitment often gets overlooked by authorities. Workers are frequently held in debt bondage and filled with fears about seeking assistance in the U.S. The hospitality industry is particularly guilty of such labor abuse and unfair labor violations.

Even the best hotels and resorts in the country may use unlawful and unethical tactics in hiring cheap immigrant labor. The Grand America Hotel is considered one of the fanciest in Utah, hosting part presidents and other high-profile convention.


Work Placement Exploitation


The J-1 visa program the Filipino workers at the Grand America were issued is intended to give foreign workers training and experience in certain fields. The plaintiffs in the case studied tourism in the Philippines and were thrilled to find an offer to learn about the hospitality industry in the United States. They each paid travel costs and recruitment fees of more than $3,000.

For a typical hotel immigrant work program, the H-2B visa would be more appropriate, but the hotel would have to cover the travel costs. But when the Filipinos arrived, the hotel failed to provide the promised supervised training in different areas of the hotel.

According to the employed immigrant lawsuit, the Filipino staffers were forced to work up to 60 hours, assigned poor tasks and were threatened with deportation when they complained.

Attorneys involved in the case and other employed immigrant lawsuits believe there are dozens more workers in the program getting the same unfair treatment, prompting the class action immigrant exploitation lawsuit. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Grand America Hotel has been targeted in unfair labor violations.

In 2011, an investigation found the Grand America Hotel was employing 133 workers without proper documentation. The hotel settled that case for $2 million. Millions of workers worldwide are forced to work in situations that they cannot control.

Placement agencies and labor recruiters sell a desirable position abroad but it rarely turns out to be as it seemed. Other instances of immigrant exploitation and unfair labor violations are common.

photo of attorney Joe Lyon
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Questions About Class Action Lawsuits

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A Class Action is a lawsuit brought by an individual on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals. Rule 23 of the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure allows for Class Action lawsuits to resolve disputes in an efficient format.

Class Actions are typically filed when the amount of money in dispute for a single plaintiff would not justify litigating the case, but where the amount of damages of the entire class of Plaintiffs would justify the cost of litigation. Without class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.

What is the difference between a Class Action & a Mass Tort?

A Class Action lawsuit involves a large group of people that have experienced extremely similar outcomes. Because the cases must meet the strict guidelines of the Class Action, they are presented under one plaintiff. 

In a Mass Tort, individual experiences may vary. Even though a large number of people have been affected, the variations from case to case are more broad than a class action. In a Mass Tort each plaintiff is represented independently, though in most instances there is still a set of general criteria to meet.

What are the requirements?

In order for a case to be certified as a Class Action, the Court must determine that the case is appropriate for class action treatment under Rule 23. There are different elements depending on whether the case is seeking monetary or injunctive relief. In general, the Court must find the following elements are satisfied:

  • Numerosity: The proposed class must be so numerous that simply joining the individual plaintiffs would be impractical. Generally, the class size should exceed 100 individuals.
  • Common Questions of Law or Fact: The facts and/or legal questions in the dispute must be common to all class members. This does not mean all facts or issues must be identical, but the primary facts and law that will determine the issue in dispute must be common among all class members.
  • Typicality: The named Plaintiff in the case must have the same facts and legal issues as the class they are proposing to represent. If the Plaintiff’s individual case involves issues of fact or law unique to that Plaintiff and are irrelevant to the ultimate issue, class certification may be denied by the Court.
  • Plaintiff/Counsel Adequately Represents the Class: The Court must find that the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s Counsel are competent and will protect the class’ interests.
  • Predominance: Common questions of fact predominate over individual facts.
  • Superiority: The Class Action is a more efficient and fair means of resolving the dispute. The Court will look at the following factors when making this determination: (1) Class Member interest in maintaining a separate action; (2) the extent of any litigation already begun by other class members; (3) desirability or undesirability of litigating the case in a particular Court ; (4) difficulties in managing the class.
What counts as a class action?

Medical Device Litigation, Pharmaceutical Litigation, and other toxic tort litigation is not appropriate for Class Action treatment. Specifically, cases that involve injuries to the parties contain too many individual facts in terms of the science and causation to find that the common issues predominate over the individual facts.

On the other hand, complex litigation that impacts many individuals and contain common questions of fact related to the conduct of the defendant are often appropriate for mass tort consolidation. Mass Tort consolidation in federal multi-district litigation or a State mass tort docket, allows the parties to utilize the efficiency of class action litigation through the discovery process but still allows the parties to litigate their cases individually on the critical issues of whether the conduct caused the alleged injuries.

While our human bodies are very similar, each individual’s body may have reacted differently to the toxic exposure that makes Class Action treatment inappropriate in most personal injury lawsuits.

Some toxic tort areas that may be beneficial for class action lawsuits can involve environmental contamination. When companies are negligent and contaminate large swaths of private property. Public nuisance lawsuits have been filed against negligent agricultural operations of fracking companies.

Why Hire the Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Class Action Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Class Action lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical Negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases.  The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world

Your Right to Justice

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Filing Class Action lawsuits is a complex and serious legal course and can carry monetary sanctions if proper legal course is not followed. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to assisting injured plaintiffs work toward a financial solution to assist in compensating for medical expenses or other damages sustained.

We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your case into a valuable settlement. The current legal environment is favorable for consumers involved in data breach class actions, deceptive marketing lawsuits, TCPA telemarketing claims, and financial negligence claims.

Recent Class Action Cases

We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your case into a valuable settlement. 

Ohio Data Breach & Privacy Lawsuits

Invasion of privacy law has been established to protect consumers and citizens of the United States. When companies are negligent and fail to protect consumer information, which can be used in malicious ways, victims can contact a class action attorney to represent them in class action data breach lawsuits. A number of privacy breach and data breach claims have been settled by The Lyon Firm and other consumer protection lawyers around the country.

Consumer Protection Class Action

Consumers have rights in the USA, and when companies do not provide a service they have promised, or hold up their end of a bargain, legal action may be necessary. Consumer protection attorneys work on your behalf to hold companies responsible for providing a fair and safe service.

The Lyon Firm has worked with law firms nationwide in consumer class actions involving deceptive marketing, false advertising, food mislabeling and misleading marketing claims.

TCPA Robocall Class Actions

TCPA lawsuits have become one of the most common kinds of legal claims. The TCPA Act provides privacy protection for consumers by restricting how companies and organizations can contact you by telephone. Robocall harassment and unfair debt collection has been a serious issue that has required lawsuits in order to keep telemarketing companies at bay.

If you have experienced telephone harassment by a bank, real estate company, hotel, political campaign or anyone else, you may have TCPA claim. The Lyon Firm works diligently to seek compensation for those harassed at their home or work.

Ohio Wage and Hour Lawsuits

Class action wage and hour lawsuits are always ongoing, as some employers fail to treat employees properly, and attempt to cut workers out of earned wages. Wage theft lawsuits can be valuable for a class of plaintiffs who believes their employer has cheated them out of overtime pay and other earned wages.

There have been several wage theft lawsuits and settlements that have compensated employees for the wages they have earned, as well as damages for emotional distress and punitive damages when an employer is negligent in treating workers in accordance to Ohio labor law.

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