Undocumented Workers

You do not have legal working papers, but your employer is glad to use your services, because he is not paying you minimum wage or overtime. He thinks he is safe in violating the law because you are afraid to complain. He is wrong. Undocumented workers, sometimes called illegal aliens, are entitled to the protection of Federal and New York wage law, and to receive not less than the legal minimum wage and overtime for each hour that they work.

Undocumented workers are included as employees under the labor law and are entitled to be paid minimum wage and overtime as required by law. If the employer did not have to pay the same minimum wage and overtime payments that they pay other employees, the employer would be able to exploit undocumented workers and obtain unfair profits. Plus, the employer would have an incentive to hire undocumented workers because they could exploit them without consequences. The rule is that you must be paid, according to law, for the work you have done. In New York City, you may work as an undocumented worker at restaurants, bars, delis, grocery stores, dry cleaners and other retail establishments. In many cases, you may get tips. Your employer cannot take those tips, and you are entitled to them as a matter of law. In addition, if you work more than ten hours per shift on a particular day, you would be entitled to spread of hours pay - one more hour of pay to compensate for the long day. And you are entitled to these payments for the work you actually perform regardless of whether or not you have working papers.

Once we start a law suit, courts generally do not permit the employers to ask questions or obtain information about your immigration status, your social security status or your tax returns. It does not matter if you are a citizen or what type of visa you have. This information is not relevant to the real issue - whether you were properly paid for the hours that your employer asked you to work. And the courts don’t want the employer to intimidate undocumented workers by seeking this irrelevant information.

The law is clear that if you are an undocumented worker your employer cannot take advantage of by paying you less than the required minimum wage and overtime simply because of your undocumented status. Nor can your employer retaliate against you for complaining about illegal wage payment. The law provides for fines that must be paid to workers who are subject to this kind of retaliation.

The law is clear that if you are an undocumented worker your employer cannot take advantage of by paying you less than the required minimum wage and overtime simply because of your undocumented status.

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 if you think that your employer's harmful actions stem from your treated unfairly by not being paid minimum wage and overtime for all of the hours that you work. We will use our more than 25 years of experience to help you resolve the matter by negotiation or by going to court in the State of New York or New York City.