Legal Help for Immigrants
If you’re an undocumented immigrant, you may wonder if you can get legal help or are entitled to certain benefits while working in California. The answer is yes. You have rights, benefits, and legal help.
It’s no exaggeration to call California a crossroads of cultures. Almost 27% of Californians can trace their ancestry outside the United States. More than eleven million foreign-born people now reside in the state. These immigrants, many of whom might be undocumented, are an integral element of California’s labor force. A third of California’s workforce is foreign-born. In 2016, undocumented workers made up about 9 percent of the state’s workforce. As of December 2018, undocumented workers had paid $4.5 billion in federal taxes and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes.
Undocumented Workers’ Rights in California
Safeguards For Wages and Extra Time
Theft of wages is a common kind of victimization for undocumented employees. There is a chance that an employer may offer you less money than California’s employment laws require. They can try to defraud undocumented employees out of their overtime wages or fail to provide necessary meal and rest breaks.
Benefits For Employees in The Form of Compensation
You are eligible for compensation if you suffered an injury on the job regardless of your immigration status. You should be compensated for your injuries to pay for necessary medical care. Lost earnings due to injuries sustained may also be compensated. Everyone, regardless of immigration status, is covered by California’s workers’ compensation rules.
Safe Working Conditions
Undocumented immigrants may be exploited by being offered more dangerous occupations than their documented counterparts. Unscrupulous corporations take advantage of undocumented employees in many ways, including by breaking the law regarding wages and hours. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure your safety on the job. If work threatens your health, you should not be forced to perform it. In addition, you may choose not to endanger your coworkers.
Workers who become disabled due to illness or injury are eligible for benefits under the California State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) program. The person’s immigration status makes no difference. Every employee pays into the SDI system. Consequently, all workers have the potential to get SDI benefits under the right conditions.
Paid family or sick leaves
Undocumented employees who have worked in California and had State Disability Wages deducted from their paychecks are eligible for paid family leave.
If your company meets the requirements of the FMLA, you may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for severe sickness or the serious illness of a family member. Under California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, you may be eligible for up to eight weeks of wages while you take care of a family member. If you comply with FMLA regulations, your job security will be assured throughout your absence. You have the right to be reinstated into the same position you had before your termination or, if that is not possible, to a position of equal or greater value.
Limitations Undocumented Workers Face
Under California law, undocumented immigrants don’t have the right to collect losses of earnings. Normally, an injured worker could ask to be returned to the job as a remedy. Some undocumented workers won’t be able to use this option.
Contact an Employment Lawyer
Employment Law cases can be complex. Your employer will likely fight back against a wrongful termination case. You need someone on your side to protect your rights and get the money you deserve.
Los Angeles attorney Sam Setyan has helped countless clients in your situation. Call Setyan Law at (213)-618-3655 for a consultation.