As the construction industry is booming again, immigrant construction workers are facing increased risks of exploitation. In a recent article in the Globe, Beth Healy and Megane Woolhouse investigate the practices of greedy contractors looking for cheap labor.
Immigrants sometimes very young are being hired illegally by contractors. They are paid cash below the minimum wage. They have no insurance. If they are injured on the job, they are often pressured not to report their injury. 15 year old Luis Mayancela fell two stories from a roof. He broke his leg. His contractor didn’t even called an ambulance. A co-worker drove him to the Emergency Room. After the accident, his boss denied all responsibility.
Because they are illegal, injured construction workers often fear retaliation and are pressured not to report their injuries. In their investigation, Healy and Woolhouse denounce industry practices that routinely exploit immigrant workers. Because many of them do not speak English well and are unfamiliar with their rights they often don’t even have a written agreement with their employers.
Immigrant workers who have no written contract with their employer and get hurt on the job may encounter difficulty getting treatment. The article describes multiple cases of workers who were denied medical treatment for months after being injured on the job.
Despite being illegal, construction workers who have been injured on a construction sites or their family should immediately look for legal representation. Immigrant workers families should be aware that construction accident lawyers do not charge fees by the hour. If a lawyer decides to take the case, they will only charge fees if he or she wins the case. The lawyer will take a contingent fee on the amount recovered after deduction of all the costs. Illegal workers should immediately consult with an experienced construction accident lawyer if they have been hurt on the job.