Bosses using unpaid "probation" to exploit San Gabriel Valley workers
Some San Gabriel Valley employers are using an illegal probation period to exploit Chinese workers, who often receive no compensation or job offer for their labors, World Journal reports. The State Department of Labor has received reports recently of the practice, according to the article. It is against the law for businesses to use labor for free. Regardless if a contract is signed or not, law mandates that businesses must compensate workers.
Alhambra resident Mr. Liang was an alleged victim. The owner of a Chinese company in El Monte offered him a job paying $1800 a month, but only following a month of probation. At the completion of that month the manager told him they could not pay him without the boss' approval. The boss was said to be in China. After a couple of weeks more working he was told to leave the company and provided not a penny for his labors.
Many of the victims are international students and non-residents. Ms. Chen, a recent graduate of Cal State LA, took a job in a Chinese restaurant in San Gabriel Square. When the owner did not say anything after three days of probation period, she thought she was hired. The owner even asked her to buy a uniform and work extra hours during the weekend. When Ms. Chen asked for her wage after working for 10 days, the owner replied that she did not meet the job requirements and gave her no compensation.
Kimchi Bui, district director at U.S. Department of Labor, told the Word Journal that most restaurants in the Los Angeles area that they investigate violate employment policies. She encouraged employees to report employer violations. The Department of Labor will protect the victims’ privacy and will not release their information to immigration authorities even if they are in the United States illegally.