United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. James, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Protective Order (ECF
No. 9). Plaintiffs request a protective order prohibiting
Defendants from seeking discovery related to the immigration
status of Plaintiffs in this action. For the reasons
discussed below, the Court grants the motion.
filed this action on August 14, 2019 pursuant to the Fair
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for unpaid overtime
wages for work they performed for Defendants. Plaintiffs
request a protective order, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c),
preventing Defendants from seeking discovery related to
Plaintiffs' immigration status. Plaintiffs argue federal
courts have repeatedly prohibited such tactics. Defendants oppose
the motion, arguing instead that “discovery into the
Plaintiffs' immigration status is necessary because
undocumented workers cannot recover damages under the
the Tenth Circuit has not ruled on the exact issue presented
here, this Court has previously granted a motion for
protective order prohibiting a defendant from seeking
discovery on issues related to the immigration status of the
plaintiffs in an FLSA case. Additionally, in Garcia v.
Palomino, Inc., this Court ruled in the context of a
motion to reopen discovery that the information the
defendants sought, “namely information relating to
Plaintiffs' immigration status, ha[d] no bearing on the
underlying issue of [that] case: whether Plaintiffs [were]
entitled to recover unpaid wages for work already performed
under the FLSA.” These cases support Plaintiffs'
request for a protective order in this case.
the cases Defendants cite in support of their position are
nonbinding and distinguishable from this case. Defendants
cite Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v.
NLRB. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court
reversed a judgment for back-due wages issued to an
undocumented worker pursuant to the National Labor Relations
Act, not the FLSA. As Plaintiffs state, “courts have
consistently held that Hoffman is inapplicable to
the FLSA by distinguishing between back pay for work that
was not actually performed but would have been performed
if not for the employer's illegal action and back pay for
work already performed, as with the
FLSA.” Indeed, both parties agree the Eighth
Circuit has expressly held that Hoffman does not
apply to FLSA cases.
also cite Egbuna v. Time-Life Libraries,
Inc. There, the Fourth Circuit held that
unauthorized aliens lacked standing to sue for allegedly
back-due wages for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. But again, this is different than
Plaintiffs' FLSA claim for wages for work already
Court finds that the information Defendants seek relating to
Plaintiffs' immigration status has no bearing on the
underlying issue in this case of “whether Plaintiffs
are entitled to recover unpaid wages for work already
performed under the FLSA.” Further, as in
Garcia, the Court finds that “the damage and
prejudice which would result to Plaintiffs if discovery into
their immigration status is permitted far outweighs whatever
minimal legitimate value such material holds for
Defendants.” Therefore, the Court grants
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT that
Plaintiffs' Motion for Protective Order (ECF No. 9) is
IS SO ORDERED.
 ECF No. 10.
 ECF No. 14 at 1.
Sanchez v. Creekstone Farms
Premium Beef, LLC, No. 11-4037-KGG, 2011 WL 5900959 (D.