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Foreign Hotel Workers Denied Relocation Costs

(CN) - The owner of luxury hotels in New Orleans is not required to reimburse foreign workers for the costs of relocating to Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the 5th Circuit ruled in a question of first impression.

A group of guest workers claimed that Decatur Hotels violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by refusing to reimburse them for the recruitment, transportation and visa expenses that they incurred before moving to New Orleans.

The federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled that the Act only requires employers to reimburse costs that are "primarily for the benefit of the employer."

"[T]he record shows that Decatur did not require, or approve, any guest worker to pay any sum to anyone as a condition of an H-2B job offer or as a condition of H-2B employment," Judge Jolly wrote.

The court granted Decatur's motion to dismiss.

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