Undocumented immigrants who worked at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York have alleged that the club frequently made them work long hours without overtime pay, according to the Washington Post. They allege that the club, aware of their status, took advantage of the employees’ vulnerable position in order to meet its cost-cutting goals.
The allegations come after nearly 30 former employees of Trump’s New York golf courses met with prosecutors earlier this year to answer questions about pay, hours, and a lack of benefits. The New York attorney general is investigating the allegations.
According to the Post, the alleged labor abuses extended beyond just unpaid overtime. While some former employees at the club described several hours of work cleaning after clocking out when the club’s restaurant closed (a labor law violation), others described being denied the promotions, health insurance, retirement benefits, and vacation days offered to legal employees, even after years of service. Two men said they had been forced to work very long hours one week and, rather than being paid overtime, work short hours the next—another illegal labor practice called “averaging hours.” Even without abusive labor practices, the workers were paid in meager hourly wages, without tips.
A former manager also described to the Post meetings in which supervisors made it clear their goal was to pressure undocumented workers to work for little pay in order to meet goals set by the company. (Other former employees and managers disputed that there were labor law violations).
Many of the employees lost their jobs earlier this year when the Trump Organization, facing criticism over the hypocrisy of Trump’s anti-immigrant language and his company’s employment of undocumented workers, fired its undocumented workers. The firings at the Westchester County club eliminated about half of the club’s wintertime staff. Last year, the New York Times reported that the family business had known of the presence of low-wage undocumented workers and for years looked the other way. The Westchester club soon after fired its workers, and two other golf clubs followed with their own purges. Dan Scavino, who now serves as the White House director of social media, was at one point general manager of the club during the years of alleged abusive labor practices.
The business, in a statement, denied knowing of any undocumented workers before this year. “The Trump Organization has extensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with all wage and hour laws,” a spokeswoman told 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.”