Brian Wiklendt, a Defense Base Act and Longshore Act attorney in Maitland, Florida with the law firm Garfinkel Schwartz was interviewed by a journalist in Winter Park, Florida.
You may watch a video called “Third Country Nationals DBA Rights” on the Garfinkel Schwartz YouTube channel.
Brian shared some alarming information after receiving a call from overseas from a client which Garfinkel Schwartz often does. Garfinkel Schwartz helps people around the world receive their benefits from the Defense Base Act Law.
Brian explained exactly how it was that he was contacted and what it was that he was told that was so alarming.
Third Country Nationals DBA Rights
Well, a gentlemen from Turkey saw our website and read the website and contacted us for help with some claimants that he has in Turkey. And these larger companies that get a U.S. government contract for billions of dollars hire people that are called third-country nationals.
It just so happens that I am honored to work with families in Turkey, but there are families all around the world including Indonesia, India, Africa. Turkey I think is the third largest that supplies the labor force for people who work under these contracts.
DBA 3rd Country Nationals Claims
These claims are difficult in a way because the insurance companies and the people are ultimately responsible for this and they want to have everything perfectly pristine.
They wanted a death certificate. They want a direct contract between the subcontractor and any contractor which no one would ever have.
They want the direct contract written contract from the truck driver that was deceased. Well a lot of times they don’t have any contract. They’re just hired and they come as a person to the workforce and they get work and they get paid cash or they get paid some way.
So there are obstacles that if you have knowledge of the area and you know how to prove a case to a judge these barriers can be basically these barriers can be overcome by other ways of proving things not simply what the insurance company wants. A judge will look at different types of things to show that this person existed. That this person was killed in the line of duty.
This person worked under subcontract is connected with the American government in some way. I finally found a way, an avenue to help third country nationals that have absolutely no way or clue of knowing that they are somehow connected with the U.S. government and that they may get benefits under federal law.
Who is Hiring Who?
Let’s back up just one step and explain what and who is hiring who?
If we would start at the top. It’s the United States Department of Defense and they go and they hire subcontractors or contractors companies from the United States, Europe, India, from Asia, from Africa, Central America.
It’s those contractors who are sometimes called subs. The sub-contractors have to go on then and find staffing to go and work in these war zones including Iraq and Afghanistan.
When they are hiring people they’re hiring people to do manual labor and technical jobs. They may be working on U.S. military bases or for the military in various capacities.
Whether it’s providing food service, water, transportation, they could be working on weaponry, they could be building and constructing in Iraq or Afghanistan.
So again the Department of Defense hires subcontractors and contractors are going to other countries. What happens is exactly what you said it occurs: the Department of Defense, the State Department, the Justice Department.
Sub-Contractors Hire from Third World Countries
Any type of military relief type of situation they contract these things out to large contractors. And those large contractors get these people from a labor pool. A lot of people, a lot of them live in villages especially in Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines.
A lot of them are illiterate and a lot of them did manual labor construction type situations. Or they were drivers and they were transporting supplies and what not to the places that the troops needed the supplies to go.
Usually there’s always a connection that can be found between these subcontractors and the main contractor.
Hard to Know the U.S. Government is the Employer
But sometimes it’s hard to find because there they don’t want you to know. They don’t want you to know you have these rights under the general contract. But the Defense Base Act law is clear: that subcontractors along with the person that has the direct contract with the government.
All Are Covered Under the DBA
But the Department of Defense they’re all covered as workers under the Defense Base Act Law. They can’t circumvent the system by hiring people from a different foreign company who’s doing the work that they’re supposed to be doing under the contract.
So as long as they’re a subcontractor is doing the work that the main contractor contracted with America for? Whether that be transporting supplies ammunition, firearms, supplies, building a base, going out in the field, in supporting the troops as security officers and stuff where a subcontract is made to do the job of the original responsibility of the general contractor those people are all covered.
People that may not be covered are people like let’s say Halliburton hires UPS to transport documents and that plane crashes in Iraq. Those people aren’t covered. That’s not a general, that’s not a subcontract that’s a service contract. So as long as it’s a subcontract to do work that is the responsibility of the larger company that then those people are covered. And none of them know it.