Lawsuit against US govt. contractor ManTech alleges forced labour & workplace safety violations in Kuwait
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Author: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast (USA)
A major government contractor kept American workers in “slave-like conditions,” confiscated their passports, and forced them to work around toxic chemicals with no protection, according to a previously unreported lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the outsourcing firm ManTech defrauded the federal government while violating a landmark anti-slavery law...A spokesperson for ManTech said the company does not comment on ongoing litigation...[T]he company filed a motion to dismiss the suit saying the lawsuit was based on “undeveloped legal theories and scattershot allegations.”...The allegations...involve a contract worth more than $2 billion for mechanic work on Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, or MRAPs...What is unusual is the fact that American citizens are making them...ManTech hired a number of Americans to go to Kuwait and service the vehicles. According to the lawsuit, they recruited...people with little to no experience as mechanics. The lawsuit...has six plaintiffs. According to the suit, all six men took jobs with ManTech for this contract...[A]ccording to the suit: ManTech employees confiscated their passports, and didn’t give them work visas...[T]hey couldn’t leave or apply for legal authorization. And since they’d signed a contract promising to pay ManTech significant sums of money if they quit, the plaintiffs felt they had no choice...The plaintiffs say they were kept in an unventilated space, and much of their work involved welding and cutting MRAP surfaces coated with this paint—and that they didn’t get any safety equipment...ManTech supervisors also ordered their employees to misreport how much time they worked...