The deal the worker struck was simple: $150 a day to tile a bathroom and stucco the walls of a home in Arcadia. The pay was to come at the end of each day but never did, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the California labor commissioner.
After six days with no pay, the lawsuit alleges, the worker finally confronted his boss, who then snapped, called him a “wetback” and threatened to report him to immigration authorities.
“Let me share something with you, not only am I [an ex]-sheriff, my family are all in the police department,” the lawsuit says the boss wrote in a follow-up text message after refusing to pay the worker. “You want to come to my job & create a issue, I will handcuff you take you into custody & wait for I.C.E to come take you in for felony threats.”
The employer could not be reached for comment, but the claim is increasingly common. Complaints over immigration-related retaliation threats surged last year in California, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Through Dec. 22, workers had filed 94 immigration-related retaliation claims with the office, up from 20 in all of 2016 and only seven a year earlier.
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