Written By Las Vegas based Law Clerk: Robert Maxey (Las Vegas, Nevada)
In Nevada, having a dream and living it are two very different things. It takes courage and determination to make your dream happen. For many people, we never get to see our dreams come true or even have the chance to experience them. For others, they refuse to give up until they achieve their goals. We live a life of privilege and opportunity within the United States where most dreams are within reach if we work hard enough. Many countries around the globe do not have this support system or opportunity; if you are born destitute you may be forced to stay that way until you die.
Large quantities of people seek to immigrate to the Untied States legally every year through visas and citizenship. However, the United States, and particularly Las Vegas, offers so many opportunities that people are willing to risk their lives in order to live here. Illegal immigration has been on a steady rise for years and many individuals who come here do so at their own peril risking assault, abuse and death.
Those who immigrate to Nevada legally and illegally still face similar challenges once in the United States. Language barriers can create an inequality whereby immigrants can be taken advantage of. In neighboring Southern California, where many immigrants from Central America live, employers are attempting to unionize an industry that exploits both legal and illegal immigration. The industry in question is the car wash industry.
Recently, Tomas Rodriguez of Hidalgo, Mexico, was awarded $80,000 by the Los Angeles County Superior Court for back wages and damages. His suit described a tyrannical system whereby immigrants were taken advantage for being ignorant of their rights. In his suit, he alleged he was forced to be at work hours before he was actually allowed to clock in. He described the carwash industry as a corrupt one where immigrants are often hired below minimum wage, forced to work without full pay for hours worked and in some instances forced to work only for tips.
Rodriguez said that after workers were hired to work only for tips, his hours were cut so severely that he couldn't afford to eat or pay rent. He relied on collecting cans and bottles like many homeless do in order to make ends meet. In his suit he alleges the owners used strong-arm tactics and threats to scare employees into obedience.
People come to America because we are the land of the free. Employers that exploit and abuse people need to be held accountable. Since the industrial revolution, the United States has made giant strides in the enactment and enforcement of labor laws. The purpose is to eliminate and remove servitude and wage slavery. Many times, the only remedy is take the employer to Court. In Nevada, government agencies are backed up for years. Such a delay can basically make a claim meaningless and a waste of time. Oftentimes, an attorney can help by pushing the case to an extent that a trial happens sooner if that matter does not settle early on.
A full article can be found here: Ex-carwash worker wins $80,000 lawsuit over labor violations
Our law firm does not represent anybody in this incident. The commentary is for educational purposes only. If you or someone you know has been the victim of labor violations and would like to be represented by a Las Vegas Lawyer, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.