Another growing problem in these hard times:
Undocumented immigrant workers are particularly vulnerable because they are afraid to complain, advocates say. (In enforcing these cases, the U.S. Labor Department does not ask about immigration status.)
Cooks, dishwashers, waiters, landscapers, janitors, hotel maids, nannies, residential construction workers, and car-wash workers are among the employees most vulnerable, according to a 66-page study conducted jointly by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the National Employment Law Project in New York, and the Center for Urban Development in Chicago.
In Pennsylvania, the U.S. Labor Department has set up a separate initiative just to look at wage theft in hotels and motels.
A particular wrinkle that often shows up in residential construction is misclassifying individual trades people as independent contractors – each worker becomes his own boss, ineligible for overtime.
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