The Washington Post reports that the Trump organization engaged in widespread theft of its undocumented workers. Jose Gabriel Juarez, for example, was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and a head waiter at the Trump country club. Juarez would clock out, but continue to work, on orders from his bosses. Sometimes he would stay past midnight to do what his bosses called “side work”- vacuuming, polishing silverware, and preparing the restaurant for breakfast. He did so off the clock and without pay.
“It was that way with all the managers: Many of them told us, ‘Just clock out and then stay and do the side work,’ ” said Juarez. Juarez worked at the golf club for 10 years and left in May 2018. “There was a lot of side work.”
Meanwhile, Trump has made halting illegal immigration a centerpiece of his policy as president.
Six former employees of the Trump organization have admitted that they felt they were systematically cheated due to their undocumented status. Some were denied promotions, health insurance, and vacation days. Two employees said they were required to perform side work unpaid, and two others said they were made to work 60-hour weeks without overtime pay.
Juarez, along with nearly 30 other former employees at Trump’s golf courses in New York, met with prosecutors in February. They supplied pay stubs and W-2 forms. Many of those who met with investigators and prosecutors were fired earlier this year as a part of a companywide purge of undocumented workers.
A statement from the Trump Organization reads: “The Trump Organization has extensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with all wage and hour laws,” spokeswoman Kimberly Benza said. “This story is total nonsense and nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations from illegal immigrants who unlawfully submitted fake identification in an effort to obtain employment.”
A former manager from the Westchester club, who spoke anonymously, said he thought undocumented workers were exploited. They were used to cut costs because supervisors knew of their undocumented status.
“There was a conscious effort to pay less wages, because they knew about the lack of documents,” said the former manager. “You know, where are they going to go?”
“Requiring employees to clock out and continue working is classic wage theft. You have to pay employees for all hours worked,” said Louis Pechman, a lawyer in Manhattan who has worked on over 200 cases involving allegations of wage theft. “Undocumented workers have the same rights as documented workers. It makes no difference.”
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