Regardless of their immigration status, all employees (with very few exceptions) have the same basic employment rights in Texas, as well as the rest of the country. Your employment rights are protected by various laws and regulations, some of which we will review further.
Fair Labor Standards ActThe FLSA was created by Congress in order to define an employee’s rights. According to a statement on the subject from Federal court in 2011, the FLSA applies to any person who is working for an employer and makes no exception for any person that is not an American citizen. So, anyone who is employed by an employer, no matter what that person’s immigration status, has a right to take action under the FLSA.
The primary rights provided under the FLSA are the right to minimum wage, as well as a right to overtime pay for hours worked beyond the 40-hour per week maximum.
What is the National Labor Relations Act?The NLRA was created to give employees the power to negotiate with their employers. Like the FLSA, there is no clause in the NLRA that excludes undocumented immigrants.
Essentially, the NLRA protects all employee’s rights to form unions, which then may negotiate terms of employment (i.e. wages and hours) with the employer. It also protects the union and individual employees from being subjected to interference or unfair treatment.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964The Civil Rights Act also serves to protect undocumented workers. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is arguably the most important employment law, as it offers all employees, regardless of immigration status, protection from a variety of offenses, including discrimination and harassment based on race, color, sex, religion, and national origin.
Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection ActThe MSPA was written to provide employment rights for migrant and seasonal workers who may be undocumented. The rights provided by the MSPA include the right to payment of promised wages, information about their employment written in a language the employee understands, and safe housing and transportation if it’s to be provided. Workers are also protected from employers who may attempt to force employees to pay for supplies and necessities directly from them.
These are just a few of the various laws in place to protect undocumented employees in the workforce. For more information, reach out to Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson, and find out what you can do to protect your rights.