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.
If you have been injured on the job, you may find that getting compensation for your injuries is not as easy as filing a report with your employer. Unfortunately, the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated and can take some time. Avoid the hassle and stress by considering these 5 reasons to hire a workers’ compensation attorney.
- Stress Relief: Working with a workers’ compensation attorney can greatly reduce the stress of your situation. Stressing over the financial impact of your injury can exacerbate your physical injuries and add to the mental or emotional strain you are feeling.
- Legal Knowledge: A workers’ compensation attorney has valuable knowledge of the laws related to workers’ compensation, your legal rights, and your employers responsibilities. Further, an attorney can help navigate complicated and hard to understand forms and contracts.
- Claims Expertise: A workers’ compensation attorney has experience that will put your claim in good hands. An attorney can help you focus your attention where it is most needed, which can speed up the process as you don’t have to worry about figuring out all the who’s, what’s, and why’s of the process on your own.
- Denial Prevention: Sometimes, even the most seemingly straight-forward workers’ compensation claims are denied. This may be due to errors, lack of documentation, or other reasons. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you prevent a denial by ensuring that all documents and requirements are submitted on time, in their entirety. Should your claim be denied, your attorney can also help file an appeal.
- Cost Effective: If you are holding back on hiring a workers’ compensation attorney due to fear of the cost – stop! Most workers’ compensation attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that if you do not get compensation, you do not owe your attorney any money.