Undocumented workers, despite their immigration status, possess certain rights and protections in the workplace. Section 4220 of the Illinois Administrative Code extends all employment rights to undocumented workers.
However, asserting these rights can be challenging due to the fear of deportation or retaliation. However, it is important to know how to defend yourself against employment issues.
Know your rights
Understanding your workplace rights is the first step to advocacy. Undocumented workers have the right to minimum wage, overtime pay, a safe workplace and protection from discrimination, among others. Familiarize yourself with these rights to ensure you can identify and address any violations.
Maintain accurate records of your work hours, wages and any workplace violations. This documentation can serve as evidence if you need to file a complaint or take legal action. Be diligent about recording all aspects of your employment.
Report violations anonymously
If you witness workplace violations, report them anonymously if you have concerns about potential repercussions. Some organizations and government agencies have anonymous reporting mechanisms that protect your identity.
Maintain open communication
If you feel comfortable, communicate with your employer about workplace issues. In some cases, employers may not be aware of violations and may rectify the situation once they know about it. Always maintain a respectful and non-confrontational tone.
Encourage collective action
Undocumented workers often have more leverage when they stand together. Encourage your coworkers to join you in addressing workplace issues collectively. Strength in numbers can lead to better results.
Keep up-to-date with changes in labor laws and regulations. Knowledge is power, and ensuring you stay aware about your rights and the legal landscape can help you make informed decisions when advocating for yourself.
Everyone deserves fair treatment in the workplace, and standing up for these rights is an important step toward creating a more equitable working environment.