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Undocumented immigrants have rights in the workplace, P.1

Last time, we began discussing the important role undocumented workers play in certain industries, and the unfortunate reality of employer exploitation of undocumented workers. Among the risks undocumented workers face on the job are dangerous working conditions, lack of workers' compensation when an injury occurs, illegal discrimination, and unpaid wages and overtime. 

Undocumented workers who attempt to fight against mistreatment may find they are threatened with physical abuse, or with threats of deportation. The fear of deportation makes undocumented workers vulnerable to mistreatment on the job.

Undocumented workers may not be citizens, but they do have legal rights, regardless of what employers say. They have the right to receive minimum wage, or the agreed upon wage, as well as overtime. They have the right to safe working conditions. Undocumented workers who are employed have the right to workers' compensation when they are injured on the job. They also have the right to be free of discrimination on the job.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are a variety of forms of illegal discrimination undocumented workers can face at work. These include discrimination based on national origin, customs, language or accent, appearance, or association with people of a different national origin group. Discrimination can also come in the form of workplace rules which require English speaking on the job. These rules aren't discriminatory in every case, but they often are.

In our next post, we'll look at another important form of discrimination undocumented workers face on the job: discrimination based on citizenship.

Sources: workplacefairness.org, "Hidden America: undocumented workers," Accessed June 20, 2017.

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