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Business Q&A: Undocumented workers protected under federal wage and hour laws

Charlie Plumb, a labor and employment attorney with McAfee & Taft, discusses a recent case involving undocumented workers and their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
by Paula Burkes Published: April 25, 2013
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Q: What was the basis of the court's ruling?

A: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled the plaintiffs were entitled to overtime pay because they met the statutory definition of an “employee” under the FLSA (Federal Labor Standards Act), and because the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 doesn't exclude undocumented aliens from the protections of federal wage and hour laws.

Q: What should employers take away from this decision?

A: As a starting point, all employers should do their homework when it comes to completing I-9 forms and gathering information to ensure they are only hiring individuals who are authorized to work in the United States. In those cases where an employer inadvertently hires someone who is not authorized to work, while it may mean an end to their current job, the undocumented alien is nonetheless entitled to be paid for any work they have already performed according to our federal employment laws.

PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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