Carney R. Shegerian, an employee rights attorney and founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm representing employees, has issued the following comment on the effects of undocumented immigrants on the U.S. economy. Per a new UCLA study which was the focus of a January 7thLos Angeles Times article, legislation legalizing immigrants to work who are undocumented would boost – and not hurt – our economy.

The UCLA study shows that immigrants who become legal move on to better-paying jobs and become more educated, resulting in more spending and more tax revenue. “That is a win-win situation for all. But while the politics of such potential legislation is debatable,” Shegerian states, “it is undeniable that undocumented employees need to know their rights. It is all too common that the many thousands of undocumented immigrants are taken advantage of in the American workplace. They work hard and long hours, often at wages less than half the minimum wages the law requires. But until the law permits these workers to come out of hiding, the sole remedy these workers will have will be at the courthouse – a place they are often reluctant to go,” Shegerian says.

“In fact, Los Angeles employers are statistically the most blatant abusers of this vulnerable work group,” Shegerian adds. “This issue is the elephant in the living rooms of our small, mid-sized and even large corporations. The sole remedy now is through the use of litigation. Every undocumented worker should know that in California, every individual – whether documented or not documented – has the legal rights to sue employers for unpaid wages, wrongful termination, retaliation and harassment.”

An experienced trial attorney, Shegerian has tried many jury trials to verdict in both state and federal court, always representing individuals that have suffered financial or emotional losses and have been wronged by employers, including major corporations. Shegerian has built a remarkable career on helping those who have been wronged in the workplace. He remains undefeated in federal jury trials and has won 14 seven figure verdicts representing employees.