Method: Quantitative survey and semi-structured interview data were collected from a sample of participants seeking assistance for a perceived workplace violation in legal aid centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. 451 adults were recruited at Time 1 and completed a survey. A subset of the sample at Time 2, n= 89, participated in semi-structured follow-up interviews. Interviews were recorded, translated, transcribed, and thematically coded for qualitative analysis. We first carry out a logistic regression on the full sample to examine age variation among low wage workers decision to seek assistance from their employer for their perceived workplace violation. Second, we examine qualitative interviews to identify age variation in the underlying mechanisms among low wage workers decision to seek assistance for a perceived workplace violation, file a claim, and pursue a claim to completion. Age was categorically coded to examine age groups: young adults(19-34), middle aged adults(35-54), and older adults(55+).
Results: The sample of this study at time 1 was 53.54% male, 63.47% held some form of legal status (e.g., US citizenship or legal permanent resident), the majority, 66.67% were Latino, and the mean age was 43.11 years (SD: 12.27, Range: 19-80). The demographic characteristics at Time 2 follow-up interviews were comparable. Logistic regression results indicate that younger workers, 19-34, were significantly more likely to speak with their employer than middle aged, 35-54 (p< .01). Qualitative thematic analysis suggests there are similarities across age groups going through the claims making process, however, differences emerged, including differences in collateral financial and emotional burdens from the claim process, differences in satisfaction in settlement outcomes, and differences in perceptions of future employment.
Conclusion/Implication: In this study we identified age-related differences and similarities in the claims making process and claim outcome of low-wage workers in the US who have experienced a workplace violation. This is important to consider as efforts are made to better support low-wage workers exercise their right to equitable and lawful working conditions, facilitate the claims making process, and reduce the collateral damage that may result from filing and pursuing a workplace claim.