Undocumented workers enjoy the legal remedies and rights afforded to any other workers provided through federal and state laws. Although exceptions exist to this rule, any worker, regardless of immigration status, is able to work in an environment free from discrimination and abuse.
Many undocumented workers fear deportation by alerting the authorities or reporting situations of abuse in the workplace.
Situations of workplace abuse
Abuse in the workplace comes in many forms to undocumented workers. Employers often take advantage of the fear or concern these individuals have concerning their immigration by manipulating or abusing the position these individuals are in. Some of the more common situations of workplace abuse include:
- Wage theft
- Discrimination or harassment
- Denied overtime, minimum wage or raises
- Lack of training and safety equipment
- Denied break time or meals
Remedies for workplace abuse
Many undocumented workers do not fully understand the rights provided by federal laws. Too often, they listen to an employer threaten to call immigration services if the worker speaks out against the employment violations. Thanks to recent attention brought to the matter by the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, policy change is in the works that would put systematic protections in place for those who cooperate with labor investigators.
In the past, several DHS agencies would put a halt on policing worksites for specific immigration records if an employer was under investigation by the Labor Department or other agencies for employment law infractions. However, protection for undocumented workers was not a guarantee.
Federally enforced changes to the investigative and deportation process will help undocumented workers. No one should be a victim of workplace abuse.