Can I Be Deported for Reporting Employer Abuse?

From unsafe working conditions to workplace discrimination, undocumented immigrants in the U.S. can be vulnerable to abuse by their employers.

However, reporting any type of employer abuse can be intimidating for undocumented workers. They may fear possible retaliation from employers that could lead to deportation.

While these fears are valid, it’s important to know that undocumented workers have employment rights and lawful protections under various federal and state laws.

What Rights Do I Have as an Undocumented Worker?

Regardless of their citizenship status, immigration status or work eligibility, all employees in the U.S. have protections thanks to federal anti-discrimination laws. However, these laws apply only to workers under certain conditions and contain specific exemptions.

U.S. Federal Protections

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. This law applies to employers in an industry affecting commerce and with 15 or more employees.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963: Employers are prohibited from making sex-based wage discrimination for men and women performing equal or similar work in the same workplace. However, this law has numerous exemptions, meaning this law doesn’t apply to employees in certain industries or working under certain conditions. For example, workers involved in the farming and packing of fish and other marine life may not be protected under the EPA.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older for employers with 20 or more employees.
  • The Immigration and Nationality Act: The INA provides multiple protections for undocumented workers, including protecting individuals against citizenship status discrimination when it comes to the hiring, firing, or recruitment and/or referral for a fee. It can also protect employees from employer retaliation.

Most recently, in 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a streamlined and expedited deferred action request process for noncitizen workers. This protects noncitizen workers from threats of immigration-related retaliation from employers who are exploitative.

Am I at Risk for Deportation if I Report Employer Abuse?

The fear of being reported to ICE by an employer can stop many workers from asserting their legal rights. And while undocumented workers have legal rights under federal laws, there’s no guarantee they won’t face deportation or removal if an employer retaliates against them for reporting unfair employment practices.

Immigration laws are complex, and everyone’s situation is unique. If you’re facing the possibility of deportation, it’s essential to know your options by working with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Reach Out to an Experienced Immigration Attorney for Assistance

If you’re facing the possibility of deportation, it’s critical to have a concrete legal defense with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. With over 30 years of experience working in immigration law, Mark E. Jacobs can review your case and help you effectively navigate your next steps.

Call our Dallas, Texas offices today for a free case review at 972-445-7577 or contact us online.

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