In 2014, there were 1.15 million undocumented immigrants in NYC and the surrounding areas. While many people seem to believe that these immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans, they are actually doing the jobs Americans do not want to do.
Because of their immigration status, undocumented workers are often discriminated against and treated poorly. They are paid extremely low wages—even below minimum wage—and are denied benefits. They are not paid overtime wages. They work in dangerous conditions and are given little to no training. As a result, many suffer injuries and are even killed while on the job.
This is unfortunate, given that by law, these workers are afforded the same rights as workers who were born in the United States. If you are an undocumented worker, you need to understand your rights. If you are an employer, you may be breaking the law. Read on to learn more about employment laws pertaining to immigrants.
Rights of Undocumented Workers
Under New York law, undocumented workers have a right to paid or unpaid sick leave and can not be fired for taking it. They have the right to organize and discuss working conditions with co-workers. These workers also have the right to be paid at least the minimum wage for every hour worked, as well as 1.5 times their hourly rate for overtime (any hours above 40 in one week).
Undocumented workers have the right to work in a safe workplace. They should be able to discuss safety hazards with their employer without retaliation. They also have the right to work in a workplace free of any type of harassment and discrimination.
There are also protections for various industries. For example, government workers must be paid a prevailing wage. For tipped workers, special rules apply. Grocery workers are required to stay employed at a store that has changed ownership for at least 90 days.
Where Undocumented Workers are Employed
Of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, 8 million of them work. Half of the farmworkers in the nation are undocumented immigrants. Another 15% are construction workers. The production and services industries each account for 9% of undocumented workers. The transportation industry employs 6% of these workers.
Contact a New York Employee Discrimination Lawyer
Many undocumented immigrants in NYC have faced discrimination simply because they were not born here in the United States. However, all workers in the state are covered by the same labor and employment laws, regardless of immigration status.
If you are dealing with low pay and hazardous work conditions, you have legal options, even if you are not an American citizen. The experienced New York employment discrimination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can determine your rights to compensation. Call our office at (347) 464-8694 to schedule a free consultation.