What are the rights of an undocumented worker?

With very few exceptions, in the State of Texas, undocumented workers have the same fundamental rights as other workers. In this sense, and regardless of their immigration status, federal and state laws grant them the right to:

  • Receive the correct and timely payment of the minimum wage or more, bonuses, and commissions in the legal currency of the United States without deductions not authorized by the worker.
  • Receive extra pay when they work more than 8 hours a day or more than 40 hours a week; overtime that is equal to 1 ½ of the minimum wage.
  • Work in healthy, safe environments, free of hazards that can cause injury or illness.
  • Not be subjected to unfair labor practices, workplace sexual harassment, or other types of employment discrimination.
  • Have workers’ compensation (if your employer has this insurance) when injured by a work-related accident or illness and the right to receive medical treatment.
  • Participate or not in union activities and bargain collectively with employers.
  •  Demand payment for contractual and non-contractual responsibilities. And not to be the object of retaliation.
  • Not be subjected to immigration legal processes during a labor dispute.
  •  If you are a migrant or seasonal farmworker, you have the right to receive written information on the pay and working conditions, a safe workplace, transportation, and safe housing, if provided by the employer.

As we mentioned at the beginning, there are restrictions on the labor rights of undocumented workers. These restrictions help determine whether filing a legal claim against your employer has a chance of success. Therefore, careful reflection and the advice of a lawyer with knowledge of labor and immigration matters is required.

For example, undocumented workers who are illegally fired cannot be reinstated because the law is designed to prevent the hiring of undocumented immigrants. They are also not eligible to receive back pay; they can only claim payment for work already done, they also do not qualify for unemployment benefits.