Some people may argue that those who didn’t come into the country legally shouldn’t have certain rights and protections. However, regardless of your legal status, immigrants are human beings and should be treated with dignity and kindness. Many employers in Kentucky and other states disregard basic human decency when it comes to undocumented immigrants.
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, both documented and undocumented immigrants have legal protections from abuse by employers and government representatives. While you may face deportation if you are detained by immigration officials, you should not live in fear of being reported by your boss or be required to put up with mistreatment and discrimination. Unfortunately, the following employer abuses are commonly reported by immigrants:
- Working without a paycheck or being paid less than minimum wage
- Being forced to work long hours without compensation or to work in dangerous or inhumane conditions
- Being threatened that standing up for one’s rights or reporting abuse will result in immigration authorities being called
Why do employers abuse and threaten undocumented immigrants, you may wonder? Much of it boils down to having a financial incentive to pay undocumented workers less and work them harder than legal or nationalized citizens. Employers may believe that immigrants don’t understand employment laws or realize that they have rights, including the right to be paid a minimum wage and not forced to work in substandard, dangerous conditions.
You have the right to be treated with respect as you work towards citizenship and a better life. The information in this blog is not meant to substitute for legal advice.