CHARLOTTE, NC. - A group of Latino workers who were arrested in a raid by Immigration in North Carolina in 2011 and are currently facing deportation, filed a lawsuit against their former employer for bad working conditions and wages.
The lawsuit was filed against the restaurant Shogun Hibachi Buffet & Grill, located in Asheville which is on the west part of the state.
In the lawsuit owner Sandy Wang Jian Qing is also accused of making these ex-employees work for six days a week averaging 12 hours day, a total of 72 hours per week, and earning less than the minimum wage salary of $ 7.25 per hour.
These employees were paid about $ 750 every two weeks, which is about $ 5.21 per hour and sometimes even less and received no compensation for overtime. The workers also claim that they were forced to work in "deplorable" conditions throughout their shifts.
Although several detainees were released on parole and were not asked to pay any type of bail amount to immigration, their deportation proceeding has already began.
Steve Agan who is the attorney for these workers, said that the defendants took advantage of these people in part because of their irregular status in the country.
An investigation done by the Department of Labor resulted in compensation for some back pay for these workers, but the current lawsuit seeks to recover all of the money under the wage and hourly rate of North Carolina law.
As for the immigration status of these workers, who come from El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala, Elizabeth Simpson who is also one of the lawyers for this group told the media that they have requested for ICE to implement some "discretion" in regards to their clients.
Simpson seeks to cancel the deportations of these five Latino workers, under the criteria that they are not a priority for immigration authorities.
These immigrants have until January 16, 2013, to resolve their immigration status which is the deadline for them to leave the country.