Workplace Violations Impact Refugees

Post contributed by George Wright of the Institute for Social and Economic Development

Today’s posting contains two pieces of sobering news – both impacting refugees. A study out today – funded by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes, and Russell Sage Foundation – shows that lowest-wage workers in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are routinely paid less than minimum wage and often refused overtime pay. The study surveyed 4,387 workers, of whom 39 percent were illegal immigrants, 31 percent were legal immigrants, and 30 percent were native-born Americans.

Among the study’s findings, which are detailed today in the New York Times and on National Public Radio, include: 76 percent being denied overtime; 26 percent being paid less than minimum wage; and that only 8 percent who suffered a serious injury at work filed for workers’ compensation. The study suggests that immigrants are disproportionately affected, as are women and racial minorities.

Reporting violations to authorities does help, as a story in the Greeley Tribune details. The article reports that the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission ruled that a JBS USA meatpacking plant subjected Muslim workers to harassment, a hostile work environment, retaliation, and other forms of discrimination. Religious discrimination is against the law, and the EEOC provides information to assist those who believe they have been discriminated against. Thanks to Tom Giossi at ORR for alerting us to this development.

For more info, visit the Institute for Social and Economic Development online.

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