by Alexander Lane
At the Harold V. Birch Vocational Academy, “a Providence high school where students with intellectual disabilities participated in an in-school sheltered workshop, separated from their non-disabled peers,” Jerry D’Agostino worked to sort, assemble, and package jewelry and buttons. At the Academy, Jerry earned well below minimum wage until graduating in 2010. Thereafter, Jerry continued to perform this “benchwork” at another sheltered workshop—Goodwill Industries. Jerry felt this work was boring and lamented the amount of downtime involved. Prior to the June 2013 Interim Settlement Agreement between the Department of Justice and the State of Rhode Island and City of Providence, Jerry believed spending his days in a sheltered workshop performing rote benchwork for less than minimum wage would be a life sentence.
by Alexander Lane
by Andrew J. Glasnovich
In 2012, the United States was home to 11.7 million people who did not have legal authorization to reside in the country. Of those, approximately 8 million people were active in the work force. Unauthorized workers will likely contribute $2.6 trillion over the next decade to the U.S. economy. Those unauthorized persons are some of the most vulnerable members of society. Because of their status, some unauthorized workers fear that their choice to report employer misconduct will lead to their deportation or imprisonment. State and federal laws prohibit employers from class-based discrimination against their workers—whether these workers are authorized or unauthorized. Despite those laws, some employer misconduct is notably egregious and includes wage theft, unsafe labor conditions, race and sex discrimination, and sexual assault. However, some unauthorized workers are brave enough to risk deportation and challenge their employers’ unlawful practices.