Arias v. Raimondo, 2017 WL 2676771 (9th Cir. 2017)

José Arnulfo Arias worked as a milker for Angelo Dairy. The dairy did not complete and file a Form I-9 when it hired Arias. According to the appellate court, “[i]nstead of complying with federal law, the Angelos wielded it as a weapon to confine Arias in their employ” by threatening to report Arias to the federal immigration authorities when, for example, he considered accepting employment with another dairy. In 2006, Arias filed a state court lawsuit against the dairy on behalf of himself and other similarly situated employees, alleging a variety of workplace violations, including failure to provide overtime pay and meal and rest periods. Ten weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin, the employer’s attorney (Anthony Raimondo) enlisted the services of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to take Arias into custody at a scheduled deposition and then remove him from the United States. There was evidence of “Raimondo’s pattern and practice of similar conduct in other cases.” In this federal court lawsuit against Raimondo personally, Arias alleges that the dairy’s lawyer, acting as its agent, retaliated against Arias in violation of the anti-retaliation provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Raimondo’s sole legal defense is that because he was never Arias’s employer, he is immune from liability under the FLSA. Although the district court dismissed Arias’s complaint, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision applies to “any person,” including a “legal representative” such as Raimondo. See also Cal. Labor Code § 1019, et seq., and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6103.7 (recently enacted California restrictions on “unfair-immigration related practices”).