Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Employer's RICO Liability for Hiring of Illegal Workers

Will be the subject of Supreme Court review as yesterday it granted certiorari in Mohawk Industries v. Williams. Although I don't follow the pace of a Supreme Court practice, this one appears to be fast tracked as the case was decided at the circuit court level in June, the certiorari response was due on November 14th and less than a month later it is granted.

The 11th Circuit summarized what this case is about in its decision that will now be reviewed:
The plaintiffs filed this class-action complaint alleging that Mohawk’s widespread and knowing employment and harboring of illegal workers allowed Mohawk to reduce labor costs by depressing wages for its legal hourly employees and discourage worker’s-compensation claims, in violation of federal and state RICO statutes. The plaintiffs also alleged that Mohawk was unjustly enriched by the lower wages it paid, as well as the reduced number of worker’scompensation claims it paid.
Williams v. Mohawk Industries, Inc. (11th Cir. 6/9/05) [pdf]. The Court allowed the action to proceed.

Although not a party, you can be sure that Wal-Mart will be watching as they have been the defendant in similar cases. See Have Wal-Mart's Lawyers Found a Smoking Gun?

It also means Carter Phillips, one of the small bar of Supreme Court practitioners that Chief Justice Roberts came from, is going to be busy. This is the 2nd week in a row that Phillips has obtained a grant of certiorari for his client in a major employment law case. See Supreme Court to Decide Major Issue - What is an Adverse Employment Action?

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