Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hire Illegals, Get Sued Under RICO

Here's an interesting little action:

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that one of the world's largest carpet makers can be sued under racketeering laws over allegations of hiring thousands of illegal immigrants and depressing wages.

...Former and current workers at Dalton-based Mohawk Industries claim they received lower wages than workers at other companies in the Dalton area, which is known as the"Carpet Capital of the World"and home to carpet plants for Shaw Industries, Interface and other companies.

"Other companies in the area not hiring illegal workers pay significantly more,"Foster said.
Attorneys said they would pursue class-action status, which could include any worker employed by Mohawk between when the case was filed in January 2000 and the time the case goes to trial.

...The key question in this case, which has also been raised in others, is whether a corporation that contracts out a service can be part of an illegal"enterprise"under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970. The _ commonly referred to as RICO _ is a federal law originally designed to fight organized crime. RICO.

In 1996, Congress expanded the anti-racketeering law's reach beyond organized crime to include violations of immigration law, such as the hiring of illegal workers.

The red highlight above is a little vague--did Mohawk use a contractor to obtain and maintain its labor force? What "contracting out a service" is involved here?

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