Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Hiring undocumented workers

"Illegal immigrant co-worker got fired for asking about her check." 

That's the headline on Reddit.

Here's the rest of the post: 

"I have a co-worker who doesn't speak English at all so I've always communicated with her through google translate. A week ago, she asked me if I had gotten paid yet and told me that she hasn't seen a penny of her check despite working 50 hours a week since late November. I talked to my manager about it and my manager told me that she would send the check to her later. My co-worker texted me a few days ago and told me that she was fired for being an illegal immigrant and that she won't be paid because of it."

Refusing to pay an undocumented worker is illegal for two huge reasons:

1.) It's illegal to employ an undocumented worker. An employer that knowingly hires undocumented workers can face fines, criminal charges, or both, depending on factors such as the number of violations, the employer's knowledge, and the severity of the offense.

2.) An employee's undocumented status is irrelevant to whether they have to be paid for all hours worked. They do. Hard stop. The FLSA protects all employees, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented workers have the same rights under the FLSA to earn minimum wage and overtime as do citizens and other legal residents.

Bottom line: don't hire undocumented workers, but if you do, pay them. Otherwise, it's called slavery and you're taking an already bad situation and making it exponentially worse.