Study Reveals Day Laborers Habitually Abused, Underpaid and Denied Overtime

Study Reveals Day Laborers Habitually Abused, Underpaid and Denied Overtime

2/10/2011

A study conducted by Seton Hall Law School has revealed the constant abuses done to day labourers. One of the cases mentioned in that study tells of a day laborer spending two weeks hauling tar in the heat being refused payment upon the job’s completion.

Across the state of New Jersey, almost 50% of all day laborers have experienced, at least once during the last year, not being paid for work performed. This was revealed in a report by Seton Hall Law School, which outlined the rampant abuse of workers all over the state.

Seton Hall researchers were able to interview over 100 day laborers, which led them to discover that most of these workers are habitually underpaid and denied overtime. More than 25% of those interviewed also revealed being assaulted physically by their bosses.

According to a Seton Hall Law Professor, Bryan Lonegan, who also happened to be an immigration attorney and co-author of the report, the situation is pretty brutal. He also said, “Day laborers are accepting their fate as a transactional cost for working in the United States.”

Most of these day laborers are illegal immigrants who took to meeting their employers on street corners. The underground characteristic of the industry and the limited English ability of the day workers make it easy for their employers to ignore existing labor laws.

According to Lonegan, under US laws, even if the workers are in the country illegally, their employers have the obligation to pay them for work done. Assault, whether physically or verbally done, is always against the law, regardless of whether the victim is an illegal immigrant or not. Lonegan also said, “A lot of them have no idea they have legal rights.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com