While Congress debates the details of a guestworker program here in the states, a federal judge has ruled that workers rights apply to those from other countries.
The ruling, which was the end result of a lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), says that non-agricultural guestworkers employed in the U.S. are entitled to protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The SPLC sums it up:
Following Hurricane Katrina, Decatur Hotels recruited an estimated 300 guestworkers from Peru, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic with promises of 40-hour workweeks and plenty of overtime. Instead, those workers found themselves working about 25 hours a week, and sometimes far less. That made it almost impossible for them to pay off the debt they incurred. Many found themselves unable to make ends meet on what they earned.
The ruling could very well set an important precedent for guestworkers in every state and discourage exploitation from employers.