Immigrant Wage Theft

All covered employees, whether working legally or illegally, and regardless of his or her immigration status, are entitled to be paid the minimum wage and overtime. Wage theft from undocumented workers is common, especially in workplaces such as construction sites, nail salons, and restaurants that are largely staffed by immigrant workers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from retaliating against their employees for asserting their right to their wages. Threats to turn over employees to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because that employee has exercised his or her rights, or other forms of intimidation, will be considered retaliation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s anti-retaliation provisions. Moreover, according to ICE’s Special Agents Field Manual, immigration officials must consider whether the information is being provided to interfere with or retaliate against employees seeking to assert their workplace rights. If immigration authorities determine that information has been provided to interfere with the employee’s rights or to retaliate against the employee for exercising his rights, immigration authorities are not suppose to take action without review of District Counsel and approval by the Assistant Director for Investigations or an Assistant Chief Patrol.

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