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NEW YORK - Nine Mexican immigrants who worked as janitors at Wal-Mart stores in New Jersey have sued the company on charges that Wal-Mart and its cleaning contractors failed to pay overtime, withheld taxes, and didn't make required workers' compensation contributions, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The immigrants were among 250 people arrested in an Oct. 23 federal immigration raid on 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states. The lawsuit is the first filed by immigrants arrested in the raid.
The plaintiffs, who face deportation for being in the country illegally, also accuse Wal-Mart and its contractors of discriminating against them by giving them lower wages and fewer benefits than other workers because of their national origin, the Times reported. They say Wal-Mart should be held accountable for its contractors' wage and hour violations.
The plaintiffs have asked Wal-Mart and its contractors to pay more than $200,000 in back pay they say they are owed for overtime, according to the newspaper.
Mona Williams, v.p. of Wal-Mart for communications, told the paper that Wal-Mart didn't know its contractors and subcontractors used illegal immigrants. She also said Wal-Mart didn't know about the overtime and other labor violations of which the cleaning contractors are accused.
The lawsuit alleges that managers at two Wal-Marts where the plaintiffs worked, in Old Bridge and Piscataway, N.J., knew that the workers were illegal immigrants, the Times reported.