National Au Pair Lawsuit Moves Forward as Class Action

Plaintiffs were granted class certification on national and state wage claims

More than three years into a lawsuit challenging the pay structure of the U.S. au pair program, the plaintiffs reached a major milestone: getting class certification.

The lawsuit seeks to get justice for participants in the au pair program. According to plaintiffs’ attorneys, many au pairs came to the U.S. in search of international experience and a guaranteed job but instead found themselves in a situation where they were paid below minimum wage.

Federal Judge Christine Arguello on Feb. 2 granted class certification in the lawsuit. And with the case now a class action, plaintiffs’ attorneys say they have the ability to bring about greater changes rather than recovering lost wages.

The lawsuit, filed in 2015 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, claims that 15 sponsors of the U.S. au pair program participated in a price fixing scheme that allows them to set wages that work out to roughly $4.35 an hour — well below the federal minimum wage — while claiming that the $195.75 per week wage was set by the U.S. government.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the February 12, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.