April 26, 2006

Companies face RICO lawsuits on illegals


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.

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