HUMAN TRAFFICKING


Cincinnati, Ohio Attorney reviewing commercial litigation and cases related to employment and business law
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In most situations, commercial disputes can be settled out of court, even when a lawsuit is filed. An experienced attorney can negotiate for a fair settlement. Settling your case can be better than litigating it to save court costs and legal fees.

The Lyon Firm has the resources to pursue negotiation and settle cases in the best interest of plaintiffs nationwide. 

It’s not an uncommon story: immigrants and migrant workers are offered appealing job offers from overseas and take a risk in search of better opportunities. But far too often, the jobs and employers are not what they were told.

The work may not even resemble anything like the initial offer. Migrant farm workers are often paid far less than what they were promised. Young women who were told they would work in a salon or at a restaurant are often held in far more precarious situations, and forced into the sex trade and to work until their “debts” are paid in full.

Human trafficking cases and sex trafficking are under the radar for most Americans, and employers and labor recruiters in this dark segment of America often prey on immigrants with no choice but to capitulate to their demands.

Living conditions in some work placement programs can be dire, and pay may be very low or held without recourse. Immigrant workers have reported that their employers hold their passports, threaten legal action and control their lives.

Joe Lyon is a Labor Lawyer and Ohio Human Trafficking Attorney investigating illegal work placement programs, and unlawful employment practices for immigrants and victims of sex trafficking.


Job Placement Violations


Migrant job placement programs and immigrant work placement in the farm and hospitality industries can result in great opportunities or may be legal and humanitarian disasters. The hospitality industry in the U.S. relies heavily on migrant workers and immigrants willing to work low-paying jobs.

But there are laws in place to protect immigrant workers in Ohio, and many employers ignore the law and take advantage of migrant employees, resulting in numerous immigrant employment lawsuits each year.

Immigrants are protected from employment discrimination by laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  Employees who have experienced unlawful employer behavior should contact a labor attorney for a free and confidential consultation.

Classes of plaintiffs may be able to file immigrant employment lawsuits against foreign labor recruiters and reach settlements that provides compensation for employees in the farm and hospitality industries.


Immigrant Employment Lawsuits


Leisure and hospitality jobs account for a large percentage of employment across the Midwest. These jobs, filled with migrant workers in restaurants and hotels, are generally low-paying and many workers are illegally employed. Immigrants make up about 13 percent of the population and make up more than 30 percent of hotel workers and over 20 percent of food service workers.

There are over a million hospitality workers across the country without legal paperwork. Many other farm workers in Ohio and across the country file immigrant employment lawsuits following employer negligence, unsafe workplaces, unpaid wages and unpaid overtime.

The Lyon Firm is dedicated to representing immigrant workers in illegal job placement programs and migrant positions in the farm and hospitality industries. Labor Laws protect immigrant workers regardless of legality, and class action employment lawsuits can recover rightful compensation for migrant workers.


Labor Recruiter Lawsuits


In an illegal labor and trafficking lawsuit in 2013, the staffing agency Foreign Healthcare Professionals Group (FHPG), was found guilty of 89 counts of human trafficking, money laundering, mail fraud, and visa fraud in Colorado. The defendant, a Nigerian-born recruiter devised a scheme with another fellow recruiter to fabricate a higher education university to lure foreign-educated nurses to work as nurse instructors and supervisors.

The nurses were promised salaries of $68,000 to $72,000. But upon arrival, the nurses were told that the promised positions were unavailable and were coerced to work in long-term care facilities that were clients of FHPG, and paid half of their promised wages. This is only one of many unlawful migrant labor cases filed each year.


Labor recruiters overseas offer jobs that span almost every industry, with most positions landing in agriculture and hospitality. Last year, the government issued around 350,000 temporary work visas.

Labor attorneys often focus on U.S. employers exploiting foreign workers, but the issue of immigrant exploitation begins many times before workers step foot on U.S. soil. Middlemen and labor recruiters can be dangerous and manipulative. Labor recruiter violations can range from wage theft to human trafficking.

Labor brokers and foreign recruiters operate as independent contractors, and are almost impossible to hold accountable for their actions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has brought civil cases against negligent employers who hire and work with recruiters when workers are exploited and treated unfairly.

Labor brokers are fairly common in Mexico, India, and the Philippines. In a recent case in New York, Filipina nurses and the New York State Nurses Association are considering filing a labor lawsuit against a hospital for allegedly forcing hundreds of Filipino nurses to continue working under threat of severe harm.


Foreign Nursing Recruiters


Nurses at the medical center are recruited from the Philippines, and must pay the hospital up to $20,000 if they leave the job within three years. Fair Labor attorneys are calling the arrangement forced labor and say it violates federal human trafficking law.

The medical center, like many others around the country, started recruiting nurses from the Philippines in 2002, and has hired over 500 workers through the labor recruiter program.

The lawsuit centers on the “placement fees,” which are supposed to pay for relocation costs, employment agency fees, attorney fees, transportation, and immigration filing fees. The nurses are underpaid for their position, some earning about $50,000 a year before taxes.

American hospitals have a history of recruiting nurses from the Philippines. When the U.S. first colonized the country, it began establishing nursing schools. The Americanized nursing curriculum allows for a pool of nurses, and now the Philippines is a leading exporter of nurses to the U.S.

Nurses are urged to choose their recruiters and programs wisely. Employers and brokers have taken advantage of many Filipino nurses, alluring them with jobs that don’t exist, or are falsely advertised. Employers bring in Filipino nurses under a government visa program, claiming they will be paid well, and some don’t see as much money as promised.

Many foreign nurses work at long-term care facilities and nursing homes under stressful and low-wage conditions. They may be charged thousands of dollars in work placement fees.


Labor Broker Lawsuits


Efforts to reign in unscrupulous labor brokers have largely failed. More regulation and immigration reforms have been stymied by congress. Some argue that new regulations would do little to prevent wrongdoing and would only be costly for U.S. companies seeking foreign labor.

The U.S. State Department and the Department of Labor say they have increased oversight of labor brokers, though taking legal action and filing class action labor lawsuits may still be the only way to hold employers accountable for unfair labor practices.


Sex Trafficking Lawsuits


In 2017, almost 9,000 cases of sexual exploitation, sex trafficking or forced prostitution in the U.S. were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, according to data collected by the Polaris Project. These numbers are likely a low estimate of the total number of sex trafficking cases as most cases go unreported.

Modern slavery and sex trafficking are highly lucrative for those in the nefarious trade and though most people don’t want to believe such awful syndicates are so widespread, they still thrive today.

Many young women who are targeted in the U.S. and across the globe are immigrants seeking better employment opportunities and stumble into very bad work placement programs and situations that are almost impossible to escape. Victims should urgently seek assistance from legal authorities and contact an Ohio Human Trafficking Attorney to learn about the legal options available.

Regardless of where you work, and what your position may be, you have rights as a worker inside the United States. Employers may make you feel like you have no rights, but that is not the case. Contact an attorney if you need assistance and legal advice.

Reports published by the University of Cincinnati indicate that more than 1,030 Ohio juveniles were the victims of human trafficking between 2014 and 2016, many of them for sexual purposes.

Of the Ohio human trafficking victims, over 85 percent were involved in sex trafficking. Those at the highest risk of sexual exploitation include runaways, victims of child abuse, and drug users.The statistics, according to the study, are “conservative,” and experts fear many more are victims without a voice or a chance to find a way out.

Many child safety agencies are unable or unwilling to provide data for privacy concerns. Police and safety experts say obtaining reliable data is essential to implementing effective anti-trafficking policies.

Ohio has a number of initiatives that are aimed at addressing sex and labor trafficking, including the training for all state employees in a regulatory or inspection role, as well a 24/7 watch desk.


Human Trafficking Attorney


Sexual exploitation, forced prostitution and sex trafficking can take place in many forms. Some foreigners and immigrants are placed by employers in salons and spas that cater to mostly male clients that engage in sexual acts under the pretense of massage services.

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, made headlines this year after authorities investigated a massage parlor in Florida. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act defines human trafficking as the following:

  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion
  • The person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude or slavery

Internet sex trafficking has grown steadily with the advent of various Web capabilities. Human and sex trafficking offenders and predators have been known to recruit, trap, solicit and sell young victims. The commercial sexual exploitation of children is abhorrent and your Ohio Human Trafficking Attorney is dedicated to helping victims and bringing offenders to justice.

The Lyon Firm can recover unpaid wages in labor disputes and unfair labor practices lawsuits.


Farm Labor Trafficking Lawsuits


Many labor trafficking victims are immigrants who are employed by agriculture operation and farms. Though many non-American citizens are taken advantage of and think they have little legal recourse. However, an Ohio Human Trafficking Attorney can help file lawsuits against offending parties.

Damages under the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act (TVPA) state that plaintiffs may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. “Section 1595 creates a civil cause of action that permits victims of trafficking to recover compensatory and punitive damages from individuals who violate the TVPA.”


 

Emotional distress damages are also a form of compensatory damages and are recoverable in a private cause of action. Plaintiff can seek multiple emotional distress awards for different violations of the TVPA.

The TVPA also mandates that the greater of the gross income or value to the defendant of the victim’s services or labor or the value of the victim’s labor as guaranteed under the minimum wage and overtime guarantees of the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Labor Recruiter Lawsuit


In a high-profile lawsuit filed against a labor recruiter, Gulf Coast shipyards were targeted in an illegal labor recruitment scheme in order to fix oil rigs following Hurricane Katrina. Signal International, Inc. used a labor recruiter to almost 500 workers from India.

The workers were promised a green card, but once in America the workers were exploited and forced to live in deplorable conditions and worked for a low wage.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a class action labor lawsuit on behalf of the workers, which included claims under the TVPA. The first trial resulted in a $14 million verdict for five workers—the first labor trafficking verdict and the largest labor trafficking verdict of any kind.


Ohio Human Trafficking Attorney


The Lyon Firm is a Cincinnati, Ohio Employment Attorney and consumer protection law firm representing victims and plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of human trafficking and sex trafficking cases. Filing lawsuits can recover rightful compensation, and can bring trafficking predators and labor trafficking rackets to justice.

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Why are these cases important?

Businesses need to be held accountable for the way they treat and compensate workers. Discrimination, unpaid wages, harassment and labor law violations can be litigated in order to properly compensate employees and prevent others from experiencing the same violations in the future. 

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Questions about Product Liability & Case Types

What types of business law do you commonly represent?

Our attorneys represent plaintiffs in a wide range of business law, including the following practice areas:

What is Intellectual Property litigation?

Below is a summary of the various types of intellectual property laws that are relevant to the permissions process.

  • Copyright. Federal copyright law protects original creative works such as paintings, writing, architecture, movies, software, photos, dance, and music. A work must meet certain minimum requirements to qualify for copyright protection. The length of protection also varies depending on when the work was created or first published.
  • Trademark. Brand names such as Nike and Apple, as well as logos, slogans, and other devices that identify and distinguish products and services, are protected under federal and state trademark laws. Unlike copyrighted works, trademarks receive different degrees of protection depending on numerous variables, including the consumer awareness of the trademark, the type of service and product it identifies, and the geographic area in which the trademark is used.
  • Right of Publicity. A  patchwork of state laws known as the right of publicity protects the image and name of a person. These laws protect against the unauthorized use of a person’s name or image for commercial purposes—for example, the use of your picture on a box of cereal. The extent of this protection varies from state to state.
  • Trade Secrets. State and federal trade secret laws protect sensitive business information. An example of a trade secret would be a confidential marketing plan for the introduction of a new software product or the secret recipe for a brand of salsa. The extent of trade secret protection depends on whether the information gives the business an advantage over competitors, is kept a secret, and is not known by competitors.
  • Right of Privacy. Although not part of intellectual property laws, state privacy laws preserve the right of all people to be left alone. Invasion of privacy occurs when someone publishes or publicly exploits information about another person’s private affairs. Invasion of privacy laws prevent you from intruding on, exposing private facts about, or falsely portraying someone. The extent of this protection may vary if the subject is a public figure—for example, a celebrity or politician.

resource: https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/introduction/intellectual-property-laws/

 

What is Mercantile Law?

Mercantile law is more commonly known as trade law or commercial law—and it describes the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales.

Commercial law focuses on the sale and distribution of goods, whereas business law focuses on the other aspects of business, including mergers and acquisitions, shareholder rights, employment disputes and property issues. Business law is regulated by both Ohio law and federal law. The federal government primarily governs finance, workplace safety and employment issues, though state laws can differ slightly.

What is a Non-Compete Lawsuit?

Non-compete disputes involve contracts in which former employees agree not to compete with an employer for a specified period of time. Most non-compete lawsuits involve former employees soliciting business from the employer’s customers and not disclosing confidential information.

Properly drafted non-compete contracts are critical for enforceability and adequate protection. Even if litigation cannot be avoided, non-compete agreements in place will help make litigation and settlements easier for all parties.

What are Breach Lawsuits?

Two common types of breach lawsuits include: 

  • Breach of contract lawsuits: 

A contract, or any legally binding agreement, presupposes that both parties must fulfill the terms of the contract. If a contract breach occurs, the affected party can seek legal action and compensation for any actual past, current or future losses.

Commercial attorneys negotiate contracts and commercial agreements, and file lawsuits when the following contracts are broken:

    • Commercial B2B Contracts
    • Buy-Sell Agreements
    • Manufacturing Agreements
    • Partnership Agreements
    • Maintenance Agreements
    • Employment Agreements
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Breach of fiduciary duty generally involves allegations that an individual or company breaches a duty to others.  A fiduciary duty requires a level of loyalty and there are both legal and ethical implications. A breach of fiduciary duty commonly includes claims of fraud and breach of contracts.

Breach of Duty claims should be addressed as soon as possible with the help of business litigation attorneys experienced in commercial law.

What is Business Fraud?

Business fraud occurs through the omission, deception or misrepresentation of a contract, prospect, investment, project or other business entity. Business fraud litigation can result in monetary damages and irreparable damage to the reputation of a company or brand. Victims of fraud should consult an experienced business law professional. Fraud disputes involve various areas of law and may involve:

  • Fraudulent Inducement or Concealment
  • Misrepresentation, Omission, and Non-Disclosure
  • Intellectual Property Issues
  • Tortious Interference
Why should I 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 Business Litigation 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. Business 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

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