Approximately 10 percent of California's workforce is composed of undocumented immigrants. Many worry that these workers are vulnerable to employer mistreatment, including wage theft. A number of California laws were recently implemented to combat and deter wrongdoing against undocumented immigrants, and the Supreme Court has even ruled that undocumented workers have the right to sue their employers. However, these protections are not keeping all workers from harm.
A reporter with KQED recently interviewed an undocumented worker who suffered physical abuse at the hands of one employer and was refused pay from another. This particular victim of abuse refused to talk on tape and was worried that speaking up would cost him future employment opportunities.
According to a recent survey by the National Employment Law Project, 76 percent of undocumented immigrants have worked without pay and 37 percent received less than the minimum wage. Victims of this type of wrongdoing in California have rights. For example, if the business reports the undocumented worker as retaliation for speaking up, the business can lose its license.
Many hope that these recent changes in law will help protect the many undocumented workers of California. No one deserves to be threatened or discriminated against. If you have been mistreated at work and want to speak up, do not hesitate to learn about your rights. Dangerous, negligent and abusive employers should be called out for their wrongdoing. You are protected under the law and your actions could prevent future abuse. A Los Angeles immigration attorney can review your case and help you understand your options.