Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office has filed a federal lawsuit against three employment agencies in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood and two suburban Chinese restaurants alleging wide-ranging wage and civil rights violations of immigrant Latino workers.
The lawsuit announced Friday alleges the agencies targeted Latino workers for employment in buffet-style establishments, acting as "central supply houses" for an industry seeking to "profit from illegal and exploitative wages and conditions."
Owners of Xing Ying Employment Agency and Jiao's Employment Agency, Inc., are named in the lawsuit filed on Thursday. They didn't immediately have comment Friday. A listing for Chinatown Agencia de Empleo couldn't be located.
The two suburban restaurants also accused are Hibachi Sushi Buffet in Cicero, and Hibachi Grill Buffet in Elk Grove Village.
The restaurants allegedly paid as little as $3.50 hourly, discriminated based on race and housed workers in poor conditions.
The lawsuit alleges the Hibachi Grill Buffet crowded as many as 15 employees into a three-bedroom apartment with one bathroom.
The apartment did not have furniture aside from soiled mattresses the workers found from a nearby dumpster, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks to recover lost wages, among other penalties.