Unpaid Labor at Drug Rehab Programs

According to investigative reporter Shoshana Walter:

In response to the American Rehab series from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin have asked the US Government Accountability Office to investigate unpaid labor at drug rehab programs.

In their letter, the senators state that working people without pay violates federal law. “Requiring individuals to work without compensation is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.” And they note, as we found, that the feds have failed to enforce it.

The senators note that Tyson Foods, Walmart and Williams Sonoma have all used unpaid workers. “Individuals struggling with substance use disorder who attend rehabilitation programs should never be subjected to predatory conditions that threaten their recovery and violate their rights…”

If the Government Accountability Office moves forward, it will look at the scope of this problem and how much federal funding has gone into rehab work camps. A large number of the 300 programs the Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered use SNAP benefits to purchase food, and some programs have also received government grants.