Latino at work
Precarious, dangerous and under-appreciated -- that’s the work of many Latinos in the U.S. A new study tries to quantify that problem, bringing together reports and data from government and NGO source. Above: A Brazilian worker paints a research tower in the middle of the Amazon forest. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

Hispanics workers appear to be getting the short end of the labor stick. Recent studies by government agencies, organized labor and human rights groups show that they suffer a disproportionate amount of of abuse and injury in the workplace. Latinos also have some of the lowest wages in the U.S., thanks in part to the fact that they are more often robbed of their earnings through various forms of wage theft like the denial of overtime and the denial of the minimum wage.

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) sent us a new study that, among other things, observed that Latinos are dying more in the workplace, despite declines in deaths of workers in other groups. Here are our top 5 takeaways from that report.

Death: LCLAA writes that “797 Latinos died at the workplace [in 2013], constituting the highest death toll for Latinos since 2008 and higher than any other working minority. Of those 797 Latinos, 527 were immigrants,” citing a 2015 U.S Department of Labor study.

Latinos suffer a higher incidence of injury in death because they are more represented in dangerous industries like construction, agriculture and transportation.

Injury and illness: cases of injury and illness are actually down among Latino workers, as they are with workers in general. However, work conditions are improving at a slower rate for Latinos.

The result? They’re baring a bigger proportion of those cases, from 9 percent in 1995 to 12 percent in 2012, according to U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures cited in an AFL-CIO report .

Benefits, like Health Care: Despite gains following the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), around a quarter of Latino workers are still uninsured.

With lower than average educational attainment, especially among the foreign-born, Latinos are less likely to work jobs that provide benefits like maternity leave.

Low wages: Hispanics made $578 per week in 2013, according to the BLS. That’s significantly less than the next-less-paid group, blacks, who make $629. Whites made an estimated $978 per week that year. (LCALAA notes that unionized Latinos made $838 per week.)

Sexual assault, harassment: Two-thirds of Latinas in the Southern U.S. say that sexual assault is a major issue at their work, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center*. While Hispanic men are more likely work in accident-heavy industries that result in bodily injury, Latinas are more likely to work in companies that have high rates of sexual harassment such as hotels and restaurants.

*Defined as “any unwanted sexual act, including but not limited to touching, voyeurism, exhibitionism, sexual assault and rape, perpetrated against a person through force or coercion.”

Have you been mistreated at work? Been a victim of wage theft or discrimination? Send your most interesting stories to

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.