The Salvation Army was hit with a lawsuit today alleging the nonprofit subjected those living in its adult rehabilitation centers to work long hours at low wages or else risk losing housing.
The “work therapy,” as it was called, required enrollees to work more than 40 hours a week at The Salvation Army’s thrift stores in exchange for wages that could be as low as $1 a week, according to the complaint filed in Chicago federal court.
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The lawsuit asks the court to award program participants with unpaid wages and allow those still participating to leave the program; it is seeking class-action status. The Salvation Army operates 120 adult rehabilitation centers around the country, according to the release. Thousands of people have gone through the program.
“In name, The Salvation Army’s ARCs claim to be rehabilitative, but the reality is that they take advantage of vulnerable people with few options,” Michael Hancock, one of the attorney’s representing program participants, said in the news release. “Instead of getting support on the road to stability and recovery, participants are forced to do grueling manual labor, live in meager conditions, make pennies in wages and give up government assistance that could improve their self-sufficiency.”
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