Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chicago Law Firm Files RICO Case Against Indiana Packers For Suppressing Wages By Employing Undocumented Aliens

A Chicago law firm filed has filed a lawsuit against Indiana Packers Corp., a Delphi-based pork processing plant, accusing the company of hiring hundreds of undocumented aliens in order to suppress wages paid to its workers. According to the Indianapolis Star, the lawsuit is being brought under the federal civil RICO statute and seeks class action status. The lawsuit accuses the company of employing undocumented aliens it knows possess false documents in order to work. Indiana Packers, which is jointly-owned by Mitsubishi and Itoham Foods, Inc., is Carroll County's largest employer.

Starting hourly wages at the meat packing plant are about $10.50 an hour according to the lawsuit. When the company's HR department received completed I-9 forms from prospective employees to establish a worker's authorization to accept employment in the United States, the lawsuit alleges the company turned a blind eye towards the use of false documents by the new hires to pass a check on E-Verify, an online database the federal government offers employers to check the legal status of a prospective employee. "You’re required to use it in good faith," Chicago lawyer Howard Foster said of E-Verify. "If you believe that the documents relate to somebody else, you’re supposed to ask questions about the person, which they don’t do. They don’t ask any questions."

The Star notes that Indiana Packers recently announced a $40.6 million expansion of its Delphi plant, which was expected to create an additional 91 jobs. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the Delphi plant up to $475,000 in tax credits and $28,000 in training grants if it fulfills its hiring requirements. Gov. Mike Pence made that announcement with Mitsubishi and Indiana Packers officials in Tokyo last September.

Under current Indiana law, employers face sanctions for employing undocumented aliens. The Indiana Department of Revenue is permitted to eliminate deductions employers take on their Indiana income tax returns for expenses related to the employment of undocumented aliens. In addition, employers can lose economic development incentives awarded to them if they are employing undocumented aliens. That law, however, foregoes sanctions against the employers if they rely on E-Verify to determine the legal status of their workers. That current law was sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel), who tried unsuccessfully to enact legislation this year that would bar employers who employ undocumented aliens from doing business with the state. Although those sanctions in SB 285 failed to pass, the Senate has approved a commission to study the impact undocumented workers have on Indiana's economy, which will be headed up by Sen. Delph.


Anonymous said...

No doubt these are good old Chamberpot of Commerce sorts?

Pete Boggs said...

Chamberpot of Communism

LamLawIndy said...

Before we rush to condemn Indiana Packers, remember that the E-Verify system is brought to u by the same people who screwed up healthcare.gov.

Anonymous said...

As someone who worked there for five years I can honestly say that it is a don't ask, don't tell, don't see, don't say type of environment. People there are indeed being rehired under different names into the positions of line leaders and trainers which are considered lower management positions. Ever met a Latino named Douglas that doesn't speak English? I have. Ever met three brothers with the exact same first middle and last name? I have. When I first started the smoking breakroom had windows with no screens that led into the woods and anyone without papers would be warned when immigration came and they would hightail it into the woods. The only place I have ever worked as a white person that I experienced racism, I would never consider even telling a mild racist joke in close company after experiencing it firsthand there every day.

Anonymous said...

Not the only business, including farms! And dont think the Gov., state and fed., are not aware of it!