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American or not, you’re entitled to America’s Employment Protections

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Migrants, immigrants and undocumented workers are often targeted by companies seeking to exploit cheap labor. While it is illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers, many do anyway and take advantage of these and other non-citizen workers. Abuses range from paying subminimum wages, failing to provide safe work environments. Employers should be cautioned – a number of laws provide protections to all workers alike.

First, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay covered employees a minimum wage and, in general, time and a half an employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime hours. The FLSA does not exclude undocumented workers. In fact, it defines an “employee” as “any individual employed by an employer,” without any mention of the employee’s immigration status.

Second, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) requires employers and farm labor contractors to pay the wages owed to migrant or seasonal agricultural workers when the payments are due.

Third, the H2-A Visa program establishes standards related to recruitment, wages, housing, transportation, and recordkeeping for employers of temporary non-immigrant agricultural workers admitted to the country under section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. H2-A workers must be given a copy of their work contract, must be paid at least twice a month at the rate stated in the contract, must be given a pay stub with details of their hours worked, deductions, pay rates, and earnings, must provide housing, meals, and transportation subject to specific rules.

Fourth, the Field Sanitation Provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act establishes minimum standards for covered agricultural settings for toilets, potable drinking water, hand-washing facilities, and for providing information regarding good hygiene practices.

As with many laws, the interplay between the laws can be complex, understanding a law that involves interpreting statutory language, interpretive regulations, and agency guidance can be difficult. If you believe your rights may have been violated, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages as well as equitable relief in the form of back pay and liquidated damages.

If you have questions about your rights or believe your rights have been violated, contact our office for a free consultation.

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ADVERTISING ONLY: The information on this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Past results obtained by Biller & Kimble, LLC are no guarantee of future results. Each case or matter is different and must be judged on its own merits.