New Study Exposes Wage Violations for Day Laborers

A recent study conducted by the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice has found that day laborers more often than not experience wage and hour law violations, a lack of proper safety equipment and other labor law violations made by employers. The study reviewed the workplace realities of 113 workers in the day labor market at seven different pick-up sites throughout the state of New Jersey.

For many of the daytime laborers wage and hour violations were the least of their worries as the threat of injury on the job and the threat of being assaulted threatened their physical well-being. Twenty-five percent of the surveyed day laborers reported incidents of being injured on the job or being physically threatened or assaulted on the job. Even though day laborers are often given rides by employers from pick-up sites 35 percent of the surveyed day laborers reported being left behind at job sites by employers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the surveyed day laborers reported that nearly all of them, 94 percent, had not received any overtime pay for work completed over the 40 hour work week. Additionally, around 50 percent of the surveyed workers said they were not paid at all or were underpaid. The study also found a positive correlation between communities with strong local advocacy groups and labor law violations.

The study found that communities with strong community organizing and immigrant advocacy groups had low rates of workplace violations like wage and hour law violations and workplace assault and injury. Municipalities that did not have strong advocacy groups had high rates of workplace violations. Community advocacy groups play a key role in protecting the rights of workers by informing them of their rights.

Source: The Huffington Post, “New Study Uncovers Wage Theft and Workplace Abuse in the Garden State,” Afton Branche, 1/11/11

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