Civil Penalties for Employers Who Fail to Pay Illegal Immigrants the Minimum Wage
Delegate Victor Ramirez introduced two bills this session designed to penalize employers of illegal immigrants who do not pay them the minimum wage.
The bill to impose criminal penalties died the House Economic Matters Committee.
A source tells me that the bill which would impose civil penalties squeaked through.
HB 1392 would allow the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations to impose fines not exceeding $2,500 for the first violation, between $500 and $5,000 for the second violation, and for a third violation between $2,500 and $5,000.
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Tellingly the bill also allows claimants to “recover reasonable counsel fees and damages” see page 6 lines 16-17. Delegate Ramirez is a trial lawyer…
The bill’s fiscal note states that this bill could generate $1.1 million in annual revenue.
Who knows this could end up being a disincentive for hiring illegal immigrants. However, I can’t help but notice that this bill is a loud ring of the dinner bell for trial lawyers. Should it pass you can bet the ranch that they will pursue illegal immigrants who want to sue their employers thereby adding millions of dollars annually to enhance state enforcement, which in turn leads to… more cases and billable hours for the trial lawyers.
I’m sure Delegate Ramirez will find a way to call this criticism “preaching hate.”