Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Undocumented workers and abusive employment practices

Undocumented workers often are unsure about their rights when it relates to abusive practices on the part of the employer. Too often, employers hire these workers on for dangerous occupations only to then force them into working long hours for little pay.

A new report from the National Employment Law Project documents a number of cases where these sorts of abuses have occurred. One example included a California worker apparently falsely accused of robbery by the employer in an effort to avoid paying that worker his wages. There are also a number of other cases involving threats made either upon immigrant workers, or upon union officials that have attempted to defend the rights of these workers.

The hope is that immigration reform will force changes to be made to prevent these sorts of practices from continuing to occur. However, immigration reform is still being contested by federal legislators, and it's difficult to know what policies and regulations will actually be implemented over time.

Certain opponents view immigration reform as a means of rewarding undocumented workers over those that have had their visas already processed. However, this is possibly misleading. Efforts to correct working condition through immigration reform can benefit all workers. Unscrupulous employers that are not willing to pay a fair wage or create proper working conditions will need to be dealt with by authorities in any case as abusive labor practices cannot be tolerated.

If you are an immigrant worker and have concerns about employment conditions or payment of wages, please do get in contact with an attorney experienced in dealing with immigrant and employment issues. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly when it comes to employment.

Source: Policy Shop, "Protecting Immigrant Workers from Abuse," by Ilana Novick, March 1, 2013

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