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Filipino Workers Compensated for Exploitative Work Conditions

June 2016, 06
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Filipino Workers Compensated for Exploitative Work Conditions
On 2nd May 2016, United States District Court judge for the Central District of California, Judge Fernando M. Olguin presided over the case against L’Amande French Bakery filed by Latham & Watkins LLP along with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA). The ruling of this case filed in March 2015 granted the plaintiffs a $15 million pay-out. L’Amande French Bakery, owned by Analiza (Ana) Moitinho de Almeida and her husband Goncalo, hired 11 Filipino workers under false pretenses of E-2 Treaty Investor visa. 

She supposedly is the daughter of
rich and powerful official of the government. They were misled to believe that they would be working as supervisors. An $11,000 debt hung over their head if they did not comply to work illegally for at least three years. 

Labor exploitation, illegal immigration-related practices, trafficking, damages for breaching California's Whistleblower and Retaliation Laws, discrimination are some of the charges laid against the Almeidas. They liquidated their assets, fled the country and did not let their lawyers take any further action.

Christopher Lapinig, Attorney at Advancing Justice-LA commented, "It is always an inspiration whenever individuals like the L'Amande workers gather the courage to stand up for their rights. Unfortunately, time and time again, we see exploitative employers – often with the help of friends and family – resort to fraud and other unlawful activity to escape accountability for their labor abuses. With this judgment, we hope to make clear to such employers that they can no longer act with impunity.”

Employers of the same nationality registered as an E-2 Treaty Investor business can hire candidates in a professional or managerial capacity under E-2 Treaty Investor visa, which is a temporary work visa.

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