Complete Labor Law Poster for $24.95
from www.LaborLawCenter.com, includes
State, Federal, & OSHA posting requirements

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Forced Labor in CA California

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Forced Labor in CA California

    I have a question regarding indentured servitude laws and laws regarding forced labor in the State of CA.

    A martial arts school I attend has taken to the practice of asking their students / clients to mop floors and perform other janitorial labor at the end of the night, despite the fact that we all pay tuition / fees (and are therefore clients) to attend this school.

    No student that has been asked is an employee of the school, nor do they receive any form of compensation, monetary or otherwise.

    When I was asked to mop a floor and declined to do so, the person working the front office who had asked me, began to chastise me with various comments, the least of which included "you think you're too good?".

    I have searched around the internet for various laws in California regarding indentured or bonded labor. So far I have found the Sweat Free Code via the California State Labor Board web-site. I am not sure if or how it would apply to my situation though.

    Here is part of the code:
    "There may be no form of forced labor of any kind, including slave labor, prison labor, indentured labor, or bonded labor, including forced overtime hours. Pursuant to Public Contracting Code section 6108 (e) (6) "forced labor", and "prison labor" do not include work or services performed by an inmate or a person employed by the California Prison Industry Authority."

    Source:http://www.dir.ca.gov/sweatfreecode.htm

    Is there anything else regarding this type of matter on the law books in California or even at the Federal level that anyone can refer me to?

    I will invariably have to speak to the owners about this and I am anticipating it to be difficult, as they have created in my opinion, an atmosphere of disparity between themselves and clients who take classes at their school.

    I'm not looking to sue them at this point, but I would like the harassment to cease as well as the coercion of clients to perform janitorial services without monetary compensation.

    Thanks to anyone who can respond with useful information.

    Sincerely,
    Chris

  • #2
    The first paragraph of the code you've cited is as follows:

    Pursuant to Public Contract Code section 6108 (g), all contractors or subcontractors contracting for the procurement or laundering of apparel, garments or corresponding accessories, equipment, materials, or supplies (other than procurement related to a public works contract) for the state of California, will sign a statement under penalty of perjury, as required by Public Contract Code section 6108 (f), that they adhere to the following as to employees utilized in the performance of the contract:
    Your martial arts school is not a contractor or subcontractor for the state of California, and the law you've cited was adopted as anti-sweatshop initiative.

    If you're looking for a law that says it's illegal for the school to ask students to help with clean up, there is none. You are free to look for a school that is more to your liking.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

    Comment


    • #3
      You have nothing to sue for. Say no, or say yes, or find another school.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, but one more thing...

        Where are the laws that prohibit anyone from forcing you to work for them?

        As far as contracts go, all the client / students have a revolving 30 day contract as far as the tuition we pay them. We pay them a tuition fee, they provide the service of instruction for the following month.

        What the school is recently trying to do is have people pay them and then force people to do manual labor for them on top of it in exchange for the service of martial arts instruction.

        Yes, we can refuse and find another school, I got that part.

        Yes, I know it isn't illegal for schools to ask, but it is for them to try and force people to do so through coercion or pressure.

        I would still like to know what law(s) deal with this sort of thing in the State of California.

        The practice strikes me as a form of indentured servitude, bonded labor or debt bondage.

        Regarding Marketeer's comment, I find it hard to believe that there are no laws pertaining to the situation I am describing. Otherwise all of the crooked business people in the State would be demanding labor in conjunction with monetary compensation for their services.

        Whatever it is, it isn't ethical. Or maybe that just qualifies as my opinion.

        Thanks,
        C
        Last edited by Chris_; 12-29-2008, 01:14 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          There are no laws being violated here. I don't know how to make it any more plain.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

          Comment


          • #6
            Where are the laws that prohibit anyone from forcing you to work for them? If you google "at will employment," you'll find all the information you need - and then some.

            You're not being forced to do anything. If you don't want to help out with the chores, then just tell them no. If they're snotty about it, then so be it.

            The practice strikes me as a form of indentured servitude, bonded labor or debt bondage. You are waaaaay off the deep end on this. You can walk away from this school any time you want to. Plus you're not an employee so none of those terms remotely apply.

            Comment


            • #7
              Chris: A martial arts school I attend has taken to the practice of asking their students / clients to mop floors and perform other janitorial labor at the end of the night. Is there anything regarding this type of matter on the law books in California or even at the Federal level that anyone can refer me to?

              Nothing illegal about the martial arts school asking you or the other students to mop floors, take out trash cans, and perform other janitorial services at the end of the night - even if you are made to feel guilty if you say NO. The ostensible illegality occurs if you actually do the work and the martial arts schools fails to pay you at least minimum wage for your laboring efforts.
              Barry S. Phillips, CPA
              www.BarryPhillips.com

              IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: This response is intended to provide general information and written for educational purposes only. It does not establish a client relationship. This communication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any party any matters addressed herein.

              Comment


              • #8
                That's an interesting take on it. But why would they have to pay? He's not an employee. He's neither a contractor nor a subcontractor. He's a client who pays them to teach him.

                And the school could well argue that mopping up at the end of the night is part of his training, which I am sure that it is. In many Asian cultures, seniority is a very big deal, as evidenced by all the bowing and scraping that goes on when a trainee enters a Buddhist temple for instruction. And more than a few trainees who insisted on doing things their own way (as opposed to the group's way) were quickly run out of town.

                He is being asked to "submit". It's not just about mopping the floor. And to perform the same tasks as others in the group.

                My suggestion is to mop the floor, and to explore how that feels (to his ego). Then submit a second, a third, and a fourth time to see whether his ego can become more comfortable with not being in control.



                Originally posted by BSPCPA View Post
                Chris: A martial arts school I attend has taken to the practice of asking their students / clients to mop floors and perform other janitorial labor at the end of the night. Is there anything regarding this type of matter on the law books in California or even at the Federal level that anyone can refer me to?

                Nothing illegal about the martial arts school asking you or the other students to mop floors, take out trash cans, and perform other janitorial services at the end of the night - even if you are made to feel guilty if you say NO. The ostensible illegality occurs if you actually do the work and the martial arts schools fails to pay you at least minimum wage for your laboring efforts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chris_ View Post
                  I have a question regarding indentured servitude laws and laws regarding forced labor in the State of CA.
                  You're in a program where they ask you to help clean up as part of the extracurricular activity. There's no forced labor - if you don't like the program, quit and find one more suitable for lazy people.

                  Go watch the Karate Kid (wax on, wax off) and stop whining.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I did a search on some other martial arts schools, and in the program/training descriptions of at least some of them, they specifically mention that as part of the school's routine, senior members assign dust mopping duties to a selected student (or students) at the end of each class. This 'etiquette' is stated as part of their policy.

                    As others here have said, you can always find another school that doesn't do this if the policy is not to your liking.

                    Originally posted by Chris_ View Post
                    Where are the laws that prohibit anyone from forcing you to work for them?

                    As far as contracts go, all the client / students have a revolving 30 day contract as far as the tuition we pay them. We pay them a tuition fee, they provide the service of instruction for the following month.

                    What the school is recently trying to do is have people pay them and then force people to do manual labor for them on top of it in exchange for the service of martial arts instruction.

                    Yes, we can refuse and find another school, I got that part.

                    Yes, I know it isn't illegal for schools to ask, but it is for them to try and force people to do so through coercion or pressure.

                    I would still like to know what law(s) deal with this sort of thing in the State of California.

                    The practice strikes me as a form of indentured servitude, bonded labor or debt bondage.

                    Regarding Marketeer's comment, I find it hard to believe that there are no laws pertaining to the situation I am describing. Otherwise all of the crooked business people in the State would be demanding labor in conjunction with monetary compensation for their services.

                    Whatever it is, it isn't ethical. Or maybe that just qualifies as my opinion.

                    Thanks,
                    C

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      anon-y-mouse: That's an interesting take on it. But why would they have to pay? He's not an employee. He's neither a contractor nor a subcontractor. He's a client who pays them to teach him.

                      Once the client is asked (and actually performs) janitorial work, he arguably is an employee or independent contractor.
                      Barry S. Phillips, CPA
                      www.BarryPhillips.com

                      IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: This response is intended to provide general information and written for educational purposes only. It does not establish a client relationship. This communication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any party any matters addressed herein.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agreed. There are no sure things, but we have an employer who is controlling the work and benefiting from the work. I would say at best the employer is in a dangerous place with this action.


                        29 CFR 785.6 - Definition of ``employ'' and partial definition of ``hours worked''.


                        By statutory definition the term ``employ'' includes (section 3(g)) ``to suffer or permit to work.'' The act, however, contains no definition of ``work''. Section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act contains a partial definition of ``hours worked'' in the form of a limited exception for clothes-changing and wash-up time
                        .
                        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BSPCPA View Post
                          anon-y-mouse: That's an interesting take on it. But why would they have to pay? He's not an employee. He's neither a contractor nor a subcontractor. He's a client who pays them to teach him.

                          Once the client is asked (and actually performs) janitorial work, he arguably is an employee or independent contractor.
                          That's a huge stretch.

                          So if you're a candy striper in the hospital and a doctor with a bad back drops his clipboard and asks you to pick it up, you're suddenly a paid employee? Strange interpretation.

                          Employment is a voluntary exchange of work for pay. Since there is no pay in this case (and, in fact, the instructor is the one receiving pay in the relationship, there is no work relationship.

                          From the student's perspective, it's entirely voluntary. No one forces him to attend that school. The school rules are that students help to clean up as part of their training (discipline, subservience, etc). There's no rational way this could be considered employment.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            mistoffolees1: That's a huge stretch.

                            Maybe for you, but not at all for me.
                            Barry S. Phillips, CPA
                            www.BarryPhillips.com

                            IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: This response is intended to provide general information and written for educational purposes only. It does not establish a client relationship. This communication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any party any matters addressed herein.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BSPCPA View Post
                              mistoffolees1: That's a huge stretch.

                              Maybe for you, but not at all for me.
                              Then I guess you won't mind providing case law where someone who was asked to pick up after a class was considered an employee by the state.

                              I don't think you'll find anything.

                              Comment

                              The LaborLawTalk.com forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on LaborLawTalk.com are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of LaborLawTalk.com. LaborLawTalk.com does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.
                              Working...
                              X