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How are undocumented immigrants often treated unfairly at work?

Undocumented immigrants often face unfair treatment at work. They may be disciplined or threatened with deportation for standing up for their rights.

Many foreigners come to the United States in search of a better life, or simply to work in the country while gaining education and experience before returning home. Some may change their minds during their stay and decide to pursue permanent opportunities in Kentucky and other states. There is no denying that life may be difficult for immigrants, both documented and undocumented, who are trying to build a future in America.

Common workplace injustices faced by immigrants

Often, those arriving in America are treated poorly by their employers, who realize that many immigrants do not understand they have the same rights to be treated humanely and given a fair wage as native-born Americans, regardless of their legal status. According to Workplace Fairness, about 6.5 million undocumented immigrant workers currently reside in the country, many of whom face numerous types of abuse at work. These often include low pay, inhumane work hours and dangerous conditions.

Newcomers to America often face such barriers as difficulty speaking the language of their employers and co-workers, and not understanding employment laws that protect employees. They may also be afraid that they will be disciplined if they stand up for their rights. As a result, many employers take advantage of immigrants, particularly those who are not in the country legally. Often, immigrants do not receive minimum wage or are denied payment for working overtime. Their employers may deny them breaks for meals or going to the restroom. They might not be given training or safety equipment that can make their jobs safer.

Retaliation and threats often used against workers who speak out

Everyone, including undocumented immigrants, has the right to certain workplace protections, states the American Civil Liberties Union. Unfortunately, some employers rely on the assumption that immigrant workers do not fully understand workplace laws or fear retaliation. If workers demand fair payment and treatment, they may be "rewarded" with longer hours, having their pay withheld, denial of safety equipment or being put in positions that are hazardous. They may also be fired from their jobs without notice. In some cases, employers have threatened to call deportation authorities if their employees speak out.

No worker in America, including undocumented immigrants, should have to put up with unfair and inhumane treatment from their employers. Those who are facing such treatment or being threatened with deportation by their bosses may be able to protect their rights by speaking with an experienced Kentucky immigration attorney.