U.S. interpreter class action highlights systemic issues

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar says a class-action lawsuit filed by U.S. court interpreters against the Massachusetts Trial Court highlights systemic issues around the profession’s working conditions and the often inadequate government resources available to ensure non-English speakers are treated fairly.

“The lawsuit points to an ongoing issue around whether interpreters are considered employees or independent contractors — and that makes a difference when it comes to pay, benefits and other employment-related issues,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com. “That classification has always been a huge problem for the profession.”

Deliscar comments after the Massachusetts Association of Court Interpreters (MACI) filed a lawsuit alleging that the Trial Court has violated state and federal labour laws and deprived non-English speakers of their right to equal treatment, reports the Lowell Sun. The interpreters accuse the court of “misclassifying the majority of interpreters as private contractors in order to pay them less and breaching the terms of their contract by unilaterally changing the payment standards that have been in place since 1998,” says the newspaper.

The lawsuit “calls for the court to classify per-diem interpreters as state employees and order the Trial Court to pay them damages for lost wages,” the article says.

See more: http://www.advocatedaily.com/u-s–interpreter-class-action-highlights-systemic-issues.html

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