On Behalf of Palacios Law Group
Undocumented workers often take on difficult and dangerous jobs. In addition, due to their immigration status, many face employment vulnerabilities, including fear of deportation.
However, there are important legal protections and benefits which apply to undocumented workers. People with unresolved immigration status need to understand their rights in the workplace.
Workplace discrimination and harassment
Unfortunately, employers can fire undocumented workers due to their immigration status. In fact, it is not legal for companies to employ people they know to have undocumented status.
Nevertheless, workplace discrimination based on race, nationality or citizenship status is illegal, even if the target is an undocumented person. A worker who experiences unlawful harassment or discrimination can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Undocumented people can also take part in labor organizing and unionization efforts.
In most cases, undocumented people do not need to reveal their immigration status to file a complaint. However, there is a risk of retaliation and deportation. Immigration lawyers work with undocumented individuals who have experienced discrimination and harassment in the workplace and help them seek justice without exposing themselves.
Work-related injuries and compensation
Workers’ compensation is a program that provides support, including coverage of medical costs and disability benefits, for people who experience harm or injury at work. Unfortunately, workplaces sometimes try to deny workers’ compensation to undocumented people. However, in many states, including New York, undocumented people with work-related injuries and medical issues can obtain workers’ compensation. In addition, injured workers can sue their employers, even if they have undocumented status.
Working while undocumented can be complex. Although undocumented immigrants are not eligible to work in the United States, many do. When undocumented people encounter workplace problems like discrimination or injury, they face both legal vulnerabilities and protections.