Au pairs from Colombia and South Africa filed a class action lawsuit to represent all current and former au pairs that they claim were cheated by the program. The au pairs were paid $4.35 per hour and claim that the sponsors conspired to illegally fix standard au pair wages, lied about au pairs’ ability to negotiate a higher wage, and illegally capped wages below the minimum wage. Plaintiffs request damages and changes to the business practices of au pair sponsors. “When I was in Colombia, InterExchange told me that being an au pair would be wonderful and that I would explore another life, language, family, culture and that if anything bad happened to me they would be there to help,” said Johana Paola Beltran, a plaintiff from Colombia who worked as an au pair in Colorado and New Jersey. “Instead, my host family treated me like a maid. When I asked InterExchange for help, they did nothing.” “The idea of the au pair J1 visa program is great; to give young people the opportunity to travel and experience the culture of a foreign country. But the reality is that once I got to the United States, I was cheap, flexible, and affordable childcare.” Said Lusapho Hlatshaneni, an au pair who worked in Virginia and California. “The families I have au paired for have been very nice and I have enjoyed my time in the United States. But I think it’s not honest to sell people abroad on a foreign exchange experience, when in fact au pairs are here to work long hours for very little money.”

Press About this Case

-Colorado Public Radio: Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Criminally Low Pay For Colorado Domestic Workers
-Bloomberg Businessweek: Au Pair Class Action Could Upend Decades-Old Program
-Washington Post: Au pairs provide cheap Childcare. Maybe illegally cheap
-Click Here for Additional Press
-Click Here for Press Releases