If you’re an undocumented worker, you may think that you cannot do anything about discrimination or harassment on the job. If coworkers make jokes at your expense, if you face sexual harassment and advances from a boss or if you are discriminated against in any other way, it’s natural to assume that you just have to accept it due to your status.
The truth, though, is that American workers’ rights extend to all workers. Your status does not matter. How you came to the United States does not matter. These are questions for immigration authorities. On the job, you still have all of the rights and protections that any other worker enjoys, and so discrimination and harassment are illegal on a federal level.
Won’t your employer just fire you if you complain about discrimination?
The biggest concern people have is that, should they file a legal complaint, their employer will just fire them. The employer could blame it on the fact that the worker is undocumented, right?
The law does state that employers need to vet their employees and that they should not hire undocumented workers. That said, if they already did, they cannot use that fact as a pretext for firing an employee who complains of discrimination. Your employer may threaten to do this, but you should know that it is also illegal, and you may be able to take action if they do so.
How can you learn more about your rights as an undocumented worker?
As you can see, your rights as a worker are complex and different than many people realize. Be sure you understand what steps to take to assert your rights. Working with an experienced attorney is wise.