New Legislation for Workplace Immigration Discrimination
May 15, 2019
President Trump’s hard line on immigration issues has resulted in an increase in reports of immigrants being threatened at work after speaking out against unfair working conditions. Some employers have threatened to call federal immigration agents when an employee complains or reports wage violations. New York State has investigated at least 30 cases over the last three years. Retaliatory practices such as firing, threatening, penalizing, or discriminating against workers who speak out are against the law.
The attorney general is urging legislators to sharpen the language of the law to include threats regarding a worker’s immigration status. Retaliation is a misdemeanor with punishments of up to three months in jail and a $20,000 fine. Labor advocates in New York are pushing to make retaliation a felony offense for immigration cases.
All Workers Have the Same Protections
The worst industries for retaliation are the service, agriculture, and construction industries. New York’s labor department has issued at least $250,000 in penalties and damages in the last three years for cases where employer retaliation involved the worker’s immigration status. The deputy commissioner for worker protection stated that his office has a hotline for reporting harassment in the workplace. Many workers in New York do not know that they are protected regardless of citizenship or documentation status. The hotline has received many reports of employers threatening to deport workers who speak up about unfair wages and working conditions.
One such report came from a maid at Trump’s golf club in New Jersey. She alleges that her supervisor threatened to deport her if she complained about abusive working conditions. The Trump organization concluded the allegations were false and said it conducted a thorough investigation that found no substantial evidence for her claims.
Another employer allegedly withheld wages from his workers for several weeks and then claimed he would call immigration authorities when they asked to be paid. Under the current New York State law, the labor department has been issuing fines to employers of up to $10,000 and ordering them to compensate victimized workers up to $20,000 for immigration-related retaliatory practices.
Fear of Retaliation
Undocumented workers are scared of being deported that they ask any labor investigations be delayed until they can move to a new address that their employer has no record of. Rather than anger employers and face retaliation, they try to move to a new location before the labor department begins looking into allegations and complaints. The rise in immigration-related workplace discrimination means workers are much more fearful now than in the past.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Defend Clients from Workplace Immigration Discrimination
If you have experienced discrimination in your workplace because of your immigration status, consult with the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC today. We have years of experience that we will use to defend your rights. Call us at 215-496-0690 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. Located conveniently in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.