Student leaders and lawyer respond to Nighthawk Diner accusations
Thomas Benson, work law expert, says the case looks «very serious.»
Last week, Inter Universitas revealed the stories of five employees at The Nighthawk Diner who [alleged they had been exploited.](1) The situation described by employees could be a reality for many international students, who often speak little Norwegian, and could be unaware of their rights. Tyler Barrott is a representative in Student Parliament at UiO, and says things need to change.
As a member of the international student-oriented party Internationalista, Barrott said he was «deeply troubled» by the allegations. In a statement released Thursday, Barrott expressed disappointment and concern. «I worked with refugee and asylum seekers in the United States for three years, many of whom suffered similar treatment by employers to that alleged in the article,» he said. «That is why it pains me to hear similar allegations of mistreatment here in Norway.»
Barrott added that although Internationalista and the Student Parliament have no power over the cases of Lauren Guido or the four anonymous sources quoted in the article, he would like to spur initiatives to «ensure UiO’s international students receive the information they need to safely navigate working life in Norway,» including on how to alert the Norwegian Labour Authority to such cases.
Work law expert weighs in
Thomas Benson, a lawyer and work law expert, says the case looks very serious.
«The employees are experiencing a very chaotic workplace, while also being exploited. They are also afraid to bring up issues because of previous negative experiences,» Benson said, adding that the high turnover and large number of part-time workers strengthened that impression. Benson says employees should request an inspection of the workplace from the Norwegian Labour Authority (Arbeidstilysnet).
The International Students' Union Norway responded early this week. President Eric Kimathi «strongly condemned» the situation, calling it «intolerable,» and advised students to contact NAV or the free legal advisors for students provided through Jussbuss.
«I hope more student undergoing similar challenges will follow and together we shall find avenues where these issues can be resolved and ensure employers follow the laid down labour laws,» Kimathi said.