If you are an undocumented worker, you still have certain legal protections. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, every employee in the United States has access to the federal minimum wage. In Chicago, the minimum wage for non-tipped workers is currently $13.00 per hour.
Undocumented workers who worked for less than the minimum wage have the right to receive backpay. Specifically, if an employer fired you, they still owe you wages for the labor you performed.
Labor laws for undocumented workers
In addition to wages your employer owes you for labor, employers must also provide worker’s compensation, meal breaks and overtime pay. Your employer cannot dispute these payments because you are an undocumented worker.
Your protections and potential risks
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers cannot discriminate against you based on your citizenship or nationality. However, you cannot legally work in the United States without a visa as an undocumented worker. It is also illegal for your employer to threaten deportation if you dispute your wages. Unfortunately, ICE still often acts upon illegal reports made by your employer. This means that if you report your wage discrimination, you take on a significant risk. Remember that you have legal protections and confidentiality between you and your lawyer. Consult with them before you make any decisions.
Though you may feel you do not have any legal recourse as an undocumented worker, your employer legally owes you a minimum wage. If you currently work for someone who does not pay you fairly, consult with a lawyer about your options. Undocumented workers have federal protections that help earn them a fair wage.