FBFG Investigating Claims Against Drug Rehabilitation Facilities Forcing Patients Into Unpaid Labor

Are you now or have you been a patient at a drug rehabilitation facility?  Are you or have you been required to perform unpaid work for an outside company as part of a “Work Rehabilitation” program?  If so, you may have a claim against the facility.

Patients at drug rehabilitation facilities are entitled to treatment and care that benefits them.  Some rehabilitation facilities, however, employ “Work Rehabilitation” programs that appear to provide little to no benefit to patients, but rather a pool of unpaid, forced labor that can be hired out to private companies, enriching the operators of the programs.  Indeed, it’s been reported that Cenikor Foundation — a prominent drug rehabilitation company operating in Texas and Louisiana — required patients to work unpaid for for-profit, private companies for long hours, leaving no time for actual treatment or care.  The report noted that “[w]hile in Cenikor’s work program, patients are frequently required to work 60-80 hours or more a week, often performing hard manual labor under dangerous conditions.”  The patients received no pay for their work at these private companies; all their earnings would instead be remitted to the facility.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and various states’ workplace protection laws require employees to be paid minimum wage and overtime.  Accordingly, patients at drug rehabilitation facilities that have endured “Work Rehabilitation” programs may have a claim against the facility for minimum wage and overtime violations.  Indeed, three former patients at Cenikor facilities have filed lawsuits against Cenikor, chiefly alleging violations of the FLSA.

The attorneys at Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP have successfully brought lawsuits on behalf of persons deprived of their just compensation in violation of the FLSA and other workplace protection laws.  If you are or have been forced to perform unpaid work for an outside company while a patient at a drug rehabilitation facility, please contact us today to discuss your legal options.