Unfortunately, many individuals that come to America as a migrant worker will work a low-wage job in an environment more susceptible to injury. Very often low-wage workers have their rights violated, and their safety compromised as companies look to save money and cut corners on safety. However, there is a complexity added to being both a migrant worker and a low-wage worker that leaves these employees further vulnerable.
Following a case in 2002 where a group of workers reported retaliation from their employer for attempting to unionize, the employer responded by issuing visa fraud charges against one of the men related to this fight for employee rights. The employee was undocumented and subsequently deported. It appeared immaterial that the company only brought forth that lawsuit because the employee was fighting for his rights and the rights of his coworkers.
Since then in particular, there has been much resistance among immigrant workers to report unsafe conditions or a violation of their rights. Unfortunately, immigrant workers are injured with far more frequency, and these injured individuals are also further reluctant to report these injuries. Many fear that in doing so they will have their claim ignored, or worse face retaliation.
According to the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Transnational Law Center, "We need to talk about low-wage worker rights as low-wage worker rights, and talk about the right to work with dignity in a different way so that we change people's perception on basic, fundamental rights in the workplace and who's entitled to them. Those are universal rights."
An immigration attorney can be critical in assisting an individual in many pursuits. Be that in securing a temporary work visa, fighting deportation proceedings or securing family-based green cards. No one should feel alone or like they have to abandon their rights.
Source: The Raw Story, "Temporary and migrant workers face 'systemic' problem of workplace dangers," David Ferguson, March 28, 2013
- Our firm has experience handling cases of a related matter in the Washington D.C. area. For more related information, please refer to our page on securing a temporary work visa.