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Study Finds Exploitation of Day Laborers

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Day laborers in New Jersey suffer “rampant exploitation and abuse” by their employers, said a new Seton Hall University report to be released on Monday on wage theft and workplace conditions in day-labor jobs.  About half of the workers interviewed for the study said they had received less pay than was promised, or no pay at all, for at least one job in the past year, according to the report. Many employers also flouted workplace safety rules, the study said, despite state laws that grant the same protections to day laborers as to full-time workers, regardless of immigration status.

More than 40 percent of day laborers surveyed told the researchers that their employers had failed to provide them with safety equipment, including goggles, hard hats and masks. Some 26 percent of day laborers said they had been injured so severely that they were forced to miss days of work, and another 26 percent said they had been assaulted at least once by an employer.

“These workers are being robbed, injured and beaten with impunity because of weak, underenforced and antiquated labor laws,” said Bryan Lonegan, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law who oversaw the survey. “What we really need now is to muster the political will to address this.”  (click on link to read full story)

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