In legal cases with potential repercussions for businesses and employees, current and former workers are accusing U.S. companies of violating immigration law and driving down wages.
The federal lawsuits — against carpet maker Mohawk Industries, Tyson Foods, retailer Wal-Mart, and others — are winding their way through appeals courts. The Mohawk case will be argued today before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The class-action lawsuits were filed by plaintiffs under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) statute, typically used against organized crime.
Under RICO, if a business engages in an enterprise of racketeering activity, it could be found liable for triple damages and attorneys' fees and face criminal prosecution.