There are more than 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States making up a significant portion of the U.S. labor force. There are a lot of misconceptions about the rights of undocumented workers, including their rights under labor and employment laws. In this article, we hope to provide some clarity on the legal rights of undocumented workers, and answer the question of whether legal status can affect a case against an employer.
Legal Rights of Undocumented Workers
Your legal status may seem like a barrier in some ways, but it does not bar you from basic protections under U.S. laws. That includes labor and employment laws. Regardless of your legal status, you can expect the following:
- You are entitled to the same minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 except in some states that have passed individual minimum wage laws.
- You are entitled to overtime pay the same as other employees.
- You have the right to a workplace that is free from discrimination for any reason.
- You have the right to bring claims against any employer violating your legal rights.
Does Legal Status Affect My Case Against My Employer?
If you plan to file a claim against your employer, you should know that your legal status could impact your case. Depending on your status and the facts of your case, you may not have access to all the same remedies as U.S. citizens. Here are a few important considerations:
- Your legal status could impact your ability to recover back pay.
- Generally, undocumented workers cannot recover pay for time not actually worked.
- Your legal status does not prevent you from being prosecuted, detained, or deported.
Immigration laws are complex, and the best way to find out if your legal status could affect your ability to sue is to contact an immigration attorney.