Threatening immigration action if you speak up about illegal practices is illegal under California law.
Like many states, California’s economy is dependent on immigrants. Both undocumented individuals and people with green cards and visas make up a large share of the California economy. In particular, undocumented people take on many of the dangerous or difficult jobs that Californians don’t want to do — such as agriculture and jobs involving manual labor.
One of the most difficult aspects of working in the United States as an undocumented immigrant is that you may be at the mercy of an employer who engages in unsafe or unfair work practices. For example, your employer may not give you the breaks that you are entitled to under the law, may force you to work in the blazing heat, or even refuse to pay you minimum wage. Challenging these practices may seem impossible because your employer has the ultimate trump card — your immigration status.
As a California workplace retaliation attorney can explain, immigration retaliation is a major problem throughout California. Immigration retaliation occurs when an employer threatens an employee’s immigration status because they engage in protected activity, such as filing a complaint with the California Labor Commission, blowing the whistle on illegal activity, or even speaking up about unfair employment practices or workplace safety. Protected activity may also include:
- Filing a lawsuit against your employer;
- Engaging in political activity;
- Talking about your low wages or unpaid wages;
- Using sick leave to take care of a family member; or
- Taking time off of work to serve on a jury or as a witness.
Under California law, it is illegal for an employer to engage in “unfair immigration-related practices” against an employee who engages in protected activity. These practices include:
- Threatening to call ICE on an employee;
- Threatening to file a false police report;
- Requiring employees to produce documents that are not required under California law;
- Rejecting employee documents that otherwise appear to be genuine; and
- Misusing the e-verify system.
If your employer engages in any of these activities, they may face penalties and/or a lawsuit. If this happens at your workplace, you can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. You can also file a lawsuit against your employer with the help of a California workplace retaliation attorney. If your employer has violated any portion of the California Labor Code, you may be entitled to compensation.
At PLBSH, we represent people across California who have experienced wrongful, unfair conduct at the hands of their employers. This includes immigrants whose bosses have threatened their immigration status for speaking up about unsafe or illegal activity. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a consultation with a California workplace retaliation attorney, contact our firm today at (800) 435-7542 or email@example.com.