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Chinese Caregivers at Alleged Birth Tourism Center Sue For Unpaid Overtime

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Irvine, CAChinese caregivers for pregnant Chinese women who traveled to the US to give birth so their babies would have instant US citizenship are suing an alleged "birth tourism center," in a California overtime lawsuit, claiming they were paid low wages and denied overtime.

Six Chinese immigrant caregivers, including two from Orange County, on May 2, 2017 filed a lawsuit Xuehong Li et al v. Fiona Chan et al, Case No. 30-2017-00917998, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange in Orange County Superior Court for California wage violations, alleging that the Xin Xi Du Month Center forced them to work more than 70 hours per week for less than minimum wage and refused to pay overtime wages.

Chan and other defendants in the California overtime lawsuit operate a business under the name of XXD that "solicits pregnant Chinese national women" to pay a substantial fee to be transported from China to the US, where their local transportation, medical care, housing, food service and housekeeping are provided until the women give birth, according to the complaint.

The alleged tourism birth center was seen as an opportunity for a better life for some expectant Chinese mothers.

"Southern California is home to a cottage industry for so-called birth tourists who travel here from China to give birth so their babies will have instant US citizenship under the 14th Amendment," which would provide easier access to US universities, medical care and the chance for the parents to apply for a green card when the child turns 21 years old," according to a story reported about the lawsuit in the Orange County Register.

"The Xin Xi Du Month Center, which has had bases in Irvine and Rowland Heights, is one of an unknown number of centers that cater to wealthy visitors from China, organizing transportation, medical care, housing, food service and shopping trips until the women give birth, said attorney Sam Wu, who is representing the caregivers," the Orange County Register reported.

Some of the workers were tricked into signing leases for apartments for the pregnant women and then were left facing the bills and lawsuits from landlords when the company stopped paying the rent, according to the complaint.

The caregivers "were required to work seven days per week for at least 10 hours per day," according to the lawsuit. "The plaintiffs were never allowed any break time either for meals, or a general break as mandated by California law. Plaintiffs were never paid hourly wages, regular or overtime, but were instead paid a daily wage."

According to the lawsuit, all the workers' hours went unrecorded, since the employers had no mechanism or time clock to keep track of hours worked.

The workers seek damages of $1 million for unpaid minimum and overtime wages, among other claims.


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