Terri Gerstein Calls for Federal Response to Employer-Driven Debt

Terri Gerstein (’95), Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, penned a piece for Politico exposing the exploitative practice of employer-driven debt and calling for key agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Transportation, to establish dedicated offices for worker protection (“Opinion | How Corporations Keep Their Own Workers in Debt,” Oct. 21). “Like other private student loans, this is debt incurred by people seeking training to learn and advance their careers, with the added problem of placing workers in debt to their employers and keeping them trapped in their jobs. Truck drivers are also often drawn in by predatory lease-to-purchase schemes that promise vehicle ownership — again, financed through pay deductions — that don’t result in ownership at all. . . . Corporate abuses of power don’t always fit in tidy boxes, so agencies charged with leveling the playing field in the marketplace should take an expansive view of their mission.”