It is not unheard of for workers to be recruited in different countries by being made promises of what their lives could be like if they move to the United States on a work visa. People living in difficult situations in their home country may see such recruitment as an opportunity to start a new living experience with better circumstances. Unfortunately, it is also not unheard of for the promises made to the recruited workers to be false. Workers move to the country and begin to work only to face unpaid overtime, deplorable living conditions and other labor abuse.
Workers who moved from Jamaica to Florida after being recruited to work for a cleaning company have allegedly found themselves facing such abuse. Many workers are claiming that they were promised 40 hour work weeks and proper living arrangements but that the living conditions are unacceptable as spaces are crowded and some people have to sleep on the floor. One worker states that she spent over $2,000 as part of her recruitment and move, and the situation she found herself in was "nothing like" what she had been promised.
Many of the workers protested in front of a beach resort that used the cleaning service for which the protesters work. They hope to draw attention to the abuse and that the resort will help end the unfair treatment. The company being accused to labor abuse is denying any allegations, but the resort claims that if the cleaning company is found guilty then they will no longer use their services.
There is currently a federal investigation into the allegations as the workers filed a claim with the Federal Department of Labor. The workers, and community supporters, hope that their move was not in vain and that they will be compensated for the unpaid overtime and other mistreatment they faced. As they gather evidence to help support their claims against the company, they may wish to look into Florida employment laws and labor standards to help bolster their case.
Source: wjhg.com, Panhandle Cleaning Company Under Fire from Jamaican Guest Workers, Cameron Taylor, Sept. 4, 2013