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Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB

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U.S. Supreme Court Bars Undocumented Worker from Receiving Back Pay Remedy
for Unlawful Firing

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration policies prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from awarding undocumented workers back pay under the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under the NLRA, back pay is a remedy available to workers who are fired for engaging in union activities. The NLRB awards back pay as a means of compensating workers for the wages they would have earned had the employer not fired them. The 5 to 4 decision in the case of Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board has tremendous ramifications for the rights of low-wage immigrant workers across the country and for the labor movement in general. (Immigrants′ Rights Update, 4/12/02)

Hoffman Plastic Decision: Bad for Workers, Bad for Business
Hoffman is bad for all workers because it undermines labor protections everyone relies on. | Hoffman will exacerbate discrimination against Latinos and Asians. | Hoffman hurts law-abiding employers because it lets scofflaw competitors go unpunished. | Congress must correct the inequities that the Supreme Court’s decision in Hoffman has created. (3/03, PDF)

Assessing the Impact of the Supreme Court's Decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. NLRB on Immigrant Workers, and Recent Developments
On March 27, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case called Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. NLRB that has generated concern among immigrant workers, communities, and immigrant rights and labor advocates. In Hoffman, the Supreme Court held that a worker who is undocumented could not recover the remedy of back pay under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). (National Employment Law Project and NILC, 10/18/02, 7 pp., PDF)

Supreme Court Reverses D.C. Circuit
Text of Supreme Court majority opinion and dissent (3/27/02) (PDF)

Brief of Amici Curiae National Employment Law Project, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, et al., in Support of Respondent (PDF)


More Information

Immigrants′ Rights Update articles about Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. NLRB are available in the following issues of the newsletter (all links are to PDFs):