Designing for the Low-Wage Workplace

Project Abstract:

There is a crucial lack of research examining information technologies to enhance working conditions for low-wage workers. In the U.S., roughly 40 million American adults work in low-wage occupations, such as service, retail, hospitality, and janitorial work. Such workers face a lot of challenges, including discrimination, harassment, contingent employment, and wage violations — any illegal conduct that withholds wages or denies benefits to employees. In this work, I examine how sociotechnical systems design might intervene in such a space where key stakeholders hold markedly unequal positions of economic, social, legal, and informational standing. This line of research focuses on designing for such challenges and stakeholders in the low-wage workplace.

Key Publications and News:
Lynn Dombrowski, Adriana Alvarado Garcia, and Jessica Despard. 2017. Low-Wage Precarious Workers’ Sociotechnical Practices Working Towards Addressing Wage Theft. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4585-4598. DOI:

CHS: Small: Designing Collaborative and Transparent Work Information Systems

IUPUI: Researchers to devise compensation systems for low-wage employees, eliminating compensation problems