Judge orders compensation, reclassification for immigration court interpreters

From the Los Angeles Times,

The company that provides the vast majority of interpreters in immigration courts nationwide illegally retaliated against some of them for organizing and must offer them reinstatement and back pay, a judge for the National Labor Relations Board ruled Monday.

SOS International, which is under contract with the Department of Justice to provide immigration court interpreters, misclassified those interpreters as contractors instead of employees and violated the National Labor Relations Act by terminating interpreters who organized, said administrative law judge Michael A. Rosas in Washington, D.C.

Rosas ordered the company, also known as SOSi, to offer workers who suffered retaliation full reinstatement and back pay, and to reclassify its interpreters who work in immigration courts as employees.

“I’m very happy. I was crying for hours,” said Patricia Rivadeneira, one of the interpreters who lost her job after organizing.

In a statement, the company said it disagreed with the judge’s decision and planned to appeal.

“We follow industry practice of drawing from a large number of independent, sub-contracted interpreters to meet our DOJ contract requirements,” the statement said. “We continue to feel that our position is consistent with past legal precedent and that the contractual arrangements between the contracted interpreters and SOSi remain consistent with the mutual intent of both parties.”

Source: Judge orders compensation, reclassification for immigration court interpreters

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