What are my legal rights if I’m staying at a homeless shelter and they require you to work 12 hours a day without compensation?

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What are my legal rights if I’m staying at a homeless shelter and they require you to work 12 hours a day without compensation?

Asked on April 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your rights depend on your personal choices and the policies of the shelter.  If you do not agree with this shelter's policies of "work to stay," then you can leave and try to find a different shelter that does not have this requirement.  Many shelters will have some type of policies that set out the expectations for the people who choose to live at their facility.  These expectations and 'rights' will vary by shelter.  Many do have work clauses to help offset budget contraints, especially with funding to so many programs being cut after the recession.  The only other possible area of rights could be disparate treatment if the shelter receives government funding.  This would apply only if they require a certain group of people to work (like only the women), but not the men.  They are singling out a group based on their race, gender, or some other protected class.  But, as long as the shelter's rules are equally enforced, a discrimination suit would not apply to your situation.


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