You might be surprised by the amount of exploitation that occurs in your own backyard. Unfortunately, the “Made in America” tag isn’t enough to guarantee that no workers were exploited. United States companies have long engaged in practices to exploit workers both overseas and locally.
Corporations are worshiped in America. Tech giants have great PR teams and brand themselves as the face of innovation. But there’s a dark side to the corporate stranglehold on different industries. Just a few of the companies that have faced exploitation-related lawsuits include:
Worker Abuse in Corporate America
Law firms make efforts to hold exploitative corporations accountable, but it’s difficult. United States companies exploit individuals in every sector and industry. Just some of the people likely to suffer inhumane treatment include:
Corporate food service.
One of the most unforgivable aspects of this exploitation is that it often focuses on the disenfranchised. Many exploited workers are so poor that they cannot afford to speak out against their treatment. Many are still learning English and may not have anyone who speaks their language around them. Many are disabled and taken advantage of because of their struggles to communicate.
A 2012 settlement against McDonald’s found that the corporation had stolen more than $213,000 in wages from Asian and Latino student workers. In addition, the company had to pay more than $100,000 in restitution because of workplace safety violations. Another settlement was for $26,000,000 for similar violations.
An organization called Warehouse Workers for Justice has recovered more than $700,000 in lost wages from warehouses contracted with Walmart. More and more suits are being filed by the day. Even though corporations have strict rules regarding how workers are compensated, they will bend over backward to avoid giving fair compensation.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an organization that has formed the Fair Food Act. This aims to offer labor rights protections to corporate farmworkers. While the majority of fast-food chains in America have signed the act, Wendy’s has not. In fact, Wendy’s hasn’t raised its farmworker wages for over 30 years.
The horror doesn’t stop at wage stealing, workplace safety violations, and a refusal to pay a living wage. Some corporations have even been accused of human trafficking.
7-11 was investigated for luring Pakistani immigrants into the US, falsifying their identities, and forcing them to work in the stores for more than 100 hours per week. They also forced the immigrants to live in 7-11 owned boarding houses and removed their rent from their paychecks.
These things happen in America. They happen in our backyard. And nobody wants to say anything about it.
Why It Matters
People have a false sense of security when it comes to the United States. They believe that the country has strong enough worker protections that no corporation would dare to skirt them. And the corporations in question have enough money to pay attorneys and PR teams to sweep everything under the rug.
Exploitation is happening. It’s happening where you live, and it might even be happening to you.
If your employer has asked you to work off the clock, you’re being exploited. If your employer has asked you to violate workplace safety regulations, you’re being exploited. If your employer has refused to comply with basic protections, you’re being exploited.
That’s without even getting into legal exploitation, like paying less than a living wage in most of America.
It’s important to talk to a lawyer if you believe your labor rights have been violated.