Court Battles

Salvation Army accused of wage violations in three lawsuits

Associated Press/Elaine Thompson

The Salvation Army was hit with three lawsuits on Wednesday accusing the international charity of violating federal law for not paying some employees a minimum wage.

Lawsuits were filed in federal courts in New York, Illinois and Georgia, according to The Associated Press.

Attorneys argue in the lawsuits that employees in The Salvation Army’s rehabilitation program, who typically work in the thrift shops, are not paid the minimum wage and are sometimes paid just a few dollars a week, the AP reported.

“Despite the substantial benefit The Salvation Army derives from the labor of these vulnerable workers, who form the backbone of its lucrative thrift store operations, The Salvation Army pays them almost nothing,” the attorneys said in a statement to the AP.

The Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation centers assist those struggling with drug addiction, homelessness or other needs. The nonprofit has about 120 of centers spread across four jurisdictions, with the lawsuits filed in three of those territories, the AP noted.

The Salvation Army was sued last year in Illinois in a similar lawsuit filed by former rehab patients. Another lawsuit was filed in California in May 2021.

The Illinois lawsuit alleged the organization was “profiting from labor it obtained from them and others like them by force and threats of serious harm, including with threats of incarceration, restricting workers’ physical movements away from The Salvation Army, and through financial coercion and abuse.”

According to a 2019 article from The Christian Science Monitor, The Salvation Army started to close a number of rehab centers in recent years because of declining sales at thrift shops.

The Hill has reached out to The Salvation Army for comment.

Tags Georgia Illinois minimum wage New York Salvation Army

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