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What should I know about employer abuse against immigrants?

There are more immigrants in California than any other state, but few people – especially native-born Americans – stop to consider the terrible injustices inflicted upon immigrant workers in many employment settings. You and others may be interested in learning about employment rights for immigrants, especially when it concerns undocumented workers and those in industries where abuse is rampant.

Many immigrants, particularly the undocumented, work in the agriculture and construction industries in California and elsewhere. As you may have heard, unscrupulous employers commonly exploit these groups for their own financial gain, preying on undocumented immigrants’ lack of knowledge of their rights and their fears of deportation to threaten and abuse them. Public Radio International has outlined common employer abuses against immigrants, which include the following:

  • Forcing them to work in unsafe, unsanitary and inhumane conditions
  • Making them work overtime without compensation
  • Withholding wages or paying a fraction of minimum wage
  • Threatening to discipline or report workers to immigration officials if they stand up for their rights
  • Holding workers against their will

Regardless of their status, immigrants have the right to be treated with dignity at their jobs, as well as to be paid at least a minimum wage and to work in a safe environment. You and others who are mistreated on the job should be able to exercise your rights without the fear of termination or being reported to officials. Since this topic can be complex and necessitates experienced counsel, the information in this blog is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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