A Chicago lawyer who represented workers at the Chicago office of a controversial outsourcing company is winning a $8,500 lawsuit against the company.
Chrysler, one of the nation’s largest auto companies, hired the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Harcourt in the past year to help it secure contracts to supply parts for its fleet of vans.
The company has been accused of illegally exploiting migrant workers in Mexico, Vietnam and Central America, and it has also been accused by human rights groups of violating workers’ rights in the U.S. and elsewhere.
But in a complaint filed in federal court in Chicago last week, Kirkland&Harcourt attorney Patrick Smith argued the company should be allowed to keep working without paying workers.
He said Kirkland has repeatedly failed to provide workers with the services they are owed and said it has failed to compensate them properly for the hours they work.
Kirkland declined to comment.
Smith’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of workers who allege they have been unfairly discriminated against by Kirkland, the company that supplies buses, taxis, trucks and other vehicles for the Chicago-area auto-assembly plant.
The workers allege that the company failed to pay them for the time they worked.
They are seeking at least $8 million in damages, according to the lawsuit.
Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news service, has covered the case for several years.
The workers have been seeking compensation for overtime and other wages and other benefits since October 2016.
The labor-rights group says it has documented dozens of similar complaints from workers in other parts of the country.
The group has also filed dozens of labor-law cases.