The State Attorney General Addresses the Severe Wage Insufficiency of Immigration Detainees: An Overview of State and Local Law Enforcement Actions to Protect Workers


Series: Enforcer of the New Labor Law

Places such as state attorneys, district attorneys, and cities are playing an increasingly important role in protecting workers’ rights. This new series by Terri Gerstein briefly introduces the enforcement and other actions taken by these emerging labor law enforcement officers at the state and local levels to protect workers’ rights. Gerstein is an EPI senior researcher and the state and local law enforcement program director of the Harvard Labor and Work Life Program. He The growing impact is recorded These new law enforcers.

Recent cases filed by state and local law enforcement officials involved a series of violations. These include very low payments to immigrant detainees; failure to pay overtime or to provide paid sick leave for home health assistants; unsafe working conditions on Amazon; failure to notify hotel staff in advance of the closure of employees; and one less payment for a public university Construction worker wages for construction. State and local law enforcement officials also weighed federal policy issues and wrote to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on how the Department of Homeland Security’s law enforcement agencies promote labor protection, and announced the resolution of a lawsuit challenging the Trump era that weakened the rules for tipping workers. . right.

The following is a snapshot of some enforcement actions across the country:

To protect the labor rights of Washington immigrant detainees: Washington State’s Attorney General’s Office in late October get The federal jury unanimously ruled that the for-profit prison company GEO Group paid immigrant detainees a fee as low as $1 per day, violating the state’s minimum wage law.The company owes workers more than US$17 million in back wages, plus US$5.9 million in unjust enrichment compensation, totaling more than USD 23 million.

Ensure paid sick leave and overtime for 12,000 family health assistants in New York: On November 16, the New York State Attorney General and the New York City Department of Consumer and Workers Announce one protocol In the end, up to 18 million US dollars were recovered for 12,000 home health assistants. The case involved two large family health institutions whose workers were underpaid and failed to provide the required paid sick leave. These institutions are jointly owned and operated as one enterprise, but fail to combine all working hours (of the two institutions) to calculate overtime pay.

Ensure that Amazon notifies workers and public health agencies of COVID-19 cases in California: California Attorney General November 15 Announce Specified judge With Amazon, AG-based complain Alleged that the company failed to notify warehouse workers and local health agencies of the number of COVID-19 cases. The judgment requires Amazon to modify its notices to workers and local health agencies, accept monitoring of these practices, and pay $500,000.

Reinstatement of compensation for New York hotel workers who were fired without warning: October 27, the New York State Attorney General Announce Recovered $2.7 million for 250 Westchester hotel employees who were fired without receiving notice required by the state government Worker Adjustment and Retention Act (WARN Act), which requires employers with 50 or more employees to notify workers and state labor departments 90 days before mass layoffs.

Criminal prosecution for wage theft in Maryland: On November 5, the Attorney General of Maryland Announce The labor broker pleaded guilty in the office’s first criminal labor case. Workers have carried out public works on the State University building, and the wage records appear to comply with the current wage laws. But in reality, workers need to return money to labor brokers every week. (Current wage law Contractors of government construction projects are required to pay wages to workers in these projects at a rate higher than the minimum wage, especially the wages and benefits that are usually paid for specific types of work in the region. These laws ensure that contractors cannot obtain an unfair advantage in bidding for government contracts by paying lower wages. )

Advocate for workers in federal policy: On November 15, a coalition of 11 attorneys general and 8 local labor law enforcement agencies and prosecutors sent a copy of letter The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) supports the agency’s plan to change its workplace law enforcement methods to support labor rights, and recommends changes to DHS policies and practices to promote the ability of state and local labor officials to enforce workplace laws.This letter is in response to the recent Department of Homeland Security memorandum Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) call on them to adopt measures and policies that will have more serious consequences for exploitative employers and increase workers’ reporting of violations The willingness of the Workers Protection Act.

Finally, on November 16, the attorneys general of Pennsylvania and Illinois Announce Specified Dismissal The multi-state coalition of attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor to challenge Trump-era rules that allow employers to pay a lower “tip” minimum wage for workers who spend a lot of time doing non-tip work.The new Biden administration Regulation According to the 80/20 rule, workers can only receive the tip minimum wage for tasks that directly support tipping work and occupy no more than 20% of the worker’s time. In other words, the new rules only allow lower tips when most of their work generates tips. The new regulations eliminate the need for attorney generals to challenge previous rules.





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