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Workers Claim Pentagon Contractor Treated Them Like “Slaves”
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Summary: A government contractor has been sued by former American employees for allegedly mistreating them. 

ManTech, a Pentagon contractor, has been accused of treating their American workers like slaves, a new lawsuit alleges.

  
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According to The Daily Beast, six workers sued Mantech, alleging that the company “relied upon forced labor to illegally sacrifice its employees’ health and safety in pursuit of a higher profit margin.”

The plaintiffs said that Mantech kept its employees in “slave-like conditions.” For instance, the government contractor confiscated American passports and forced people to work with chemicals without allowing them to use protection.

Mantech has a large contract with the federal government, and the Daily Beast said that this lawsuit could have widespread implications.

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“The allegations detailed involve a contract worth more than $2 billion for mechanic work on Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, or MRAPs,” The Daily Beast stated. “The massive vehicles have V-shaped hulls designed to deflect IEDs—a life-saving technological innovation for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because troops ride in these vehicles in dangerous conflict zones, they get hit—and need repairs.”

A research scholar told the Daily Beast that it is common for companies to confiscate passports from foreign workers, but it was rare to hear them do that to American citizens.



“I’ve not heard of this particular phenomenon for Western migrant workers or expatriates. Passport confiscation is fairly more common for low wage migrant workers who either don’t have the education to fight back or don’t have a secure place to store the passport or don’t have the leverage to say anything,” David Segall, a research scholar at New York University, said.

Earlier this month, Mantech filed a motion to dismiss and said that the lawsuit was based on “undeveloped theories.” In 2012, the company had signed its contract with the Pentagon to service MRAPs, and it immediately began to hire Americans in Kuwait.

According to the lawsuit, ManTech recruited Americans to work at their company, and when they arrived in Kuwait, they were shocked to have their passports confiscated and no work visas given to them. They said they were given tourist visas instead and were immediately set to work in an unventilated environment with lots of chemicals but were not given any protective gear such as gloves or goggles.

“The air was polluted with the smoke of burning CARC paint caused by the arc-welding of MRAP vehicles, the grinding of CARC paint and metal by sanders, fossil fuels released through engine exhaust, fumes from petroleum products, and other toxin released by employees’ abrasive work on MRAP vehicles,” the lawsuit stated.

The plaintiffs said they were put in work conditions that violated federal law, and their lawsuit was filed under the False Claims Act, which protects whistleblowers who want to sue their employers.

What do you think of the lawsuit against Mantech? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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