The New York State Attorney General is investigating allegations that undocumented employees at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester were instructed to work overtime without pay, according to a Washington Post report.
Jose Gabriel Juarez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico working as a head waiter of the Grille Room restaurant at the Briarcliff Manor club, told the Post that his managers would have him clock out, but continue to do side work without receiving overtime pay.
The report states that Juarez - and other employees - stayed on for hours, vacuuming carpets, polishing silverware and helping to get the Briarcliff Manor restaurant prepared for the following day’s breakfast, all without pay. Juarez also alleges that his bosses would shave hours off his paystubs in an effort to pay him even less.
Juarez spent a year at the restaurant before leaving in May last year. The allegations led to the inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office, with dozens of former employees being interviewed.
“In interviews, six former Trump workers told The Washington Post that they felt systematically cheated because they were undocumented,” the report states. “Some told The Post about being denied promotions, vacation days and health insurance, which were offered to legal employees. The same pattern of unpaid labor was also described by a former manager.”
Some employees alleged that they were required to perform unpaid side work, while others said that they were forced to work 60-hour weeks without being paid overtime, a violation of labor laws. Many of those interviewed were among those fired as part of a companywide purge of unauthorized workers earlier this year.
According to the report, the Trump Organization has denied the allegations, and workers who spoke to The Post did not keep paper records of the extra hours they said they worked.
At the club in Briarcliff Manor, the Post reported that a former manager “who said he thought the undocumented workers at the club were exploited,” said that it was “clear that the supervisors not only knew these workers lacked authentic documents, but used that information to meet the company’s cost-cutting goals.”
The report states that in Briarcliff Manor, the club drew on a community of immigrants from Ecuador and Mexico living in Ossining to staff many manual-labor jobs. Many of those employees without legal status saw minor wage increases, sometimes received no health insurance or retirement benefits and “felt blocked” from promotion opportunities.
“The Trump Organization has extensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with all wage and hour laws,” spokeswoman Kimberly Benza said to the Post. “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.”
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