The UCLA report said that equal status for immigrants should be established to ensure that they have the full protection and remedies of the law.
“Although in theory unauthorized workers are already covered by most employment and labor laws, in practice their lack of legal status, their fear of deportation, and the willingness of employers to exploit their vulnerability make enforcement especially difficult for this part of the workforce,” according to the report.
“This is particularly critical in Los Angeles, which has a larger unauthorized immigrant population than any other city or county in the United States,” according to the report.
Carney Shegerian, an employee rights attorney with Shegerian & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., agreed with the UCLA report’s recommendations regarding undocumented workers.
“It is undeniable that undocumented employees need to know their rights,” Shegerian said. “It is all too common that the many thousands of undocumented immigrants are taken advantage of in the American workplace,” he said.
“Until the law permits these workers to come out of hiding,” and obtain legal status, “the sole remedy these workers will have will be at the courthouse–a place they are often reluctant to go,” Shegerian said.
Undocumented workers should know that “every individual–whether documented or undocumented–has the legal rights to sue employers for unpaid wages, wrongful termination, retaliation and harassment,” he said.