With growing threats of deportation, many undocumented workers are scared. If you are an undocumented worker in Texas then you might fear being discriminated against at work or even losing your job. You are likely working hard to support your family and worry about how things will change once President-elect Trump takes office. It is important for you to know that both federal and Texas laws protect your rights as a worker, now and in the future.
Federal law protects your right to be treated fairly at work
Undocumented workers have the same basic employment rights as any other workers. Undocumented workers are protected on several levels, the first one being federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is your most basic line of protection in the U.S. The FLSA requires that employers and farm labor contractors pay at least minimum wage and overtime pay to all employees, even if they are undocumented.
You also have the right to organize and participate in unions under federal law. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects undocumented workers' right to organize and negotiate with employers. This means that you can work together with coworkers to deal with wage and labor disputes. If you feel like your employer is committing unfair labor practices or discrimination then it violates the NLRA directly.
Texas state law is another line of protection for workers
You probably feel vulnerable to discrimination as the Obama administration leaves office. It is easy to get caught up in the news coverage that perpetuates these fears.
Don't give in to these fears. The reality is that both federal and Texas state laws give you rights under wage-and-hour and other employment laws. This is true even if you are not a legal citizen.
Don't let an employer intimidate you - your immigration status doesn't matter
The law protects you in the following ways:
- Employers must legally pay you the wages and bonuses that are in your contract
- Employers must give you a regular payday at least once a month
- You are protected against wage deduction
- You have the right to compensation if you are injured on the job
If your employer violates any of these laws then you can take them to court for compensation. Don't let threats of deportation stop you from fighting for your rights.
An employer cannot bring up your immigration status if you are in a labor dispute. On top of that, undocumented workers are protected in lawsuits from discovery of their immigration status. In fact, if your employer tries to use your immigration status to ruin your claim then a court could grant a protective order against the discovery of citizenship.
It is important to know that your basic employment rights will be the same now and under a new administration. If you think that your workers' rights have been violated by your boss then you should contact an experienced attorney right away.