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Immigrants have a right to file unpaid wage claims too

If you ask most immigrants, they will tell you that they came to this country for a better opportunity. Often times, pay is better here in the United States -- money that can be sent to family members in their home country. But as we’ve seen in past stories, some employers can take advantage of immigrant workers, often assuming that because they are relatively unskilled, they will not know when they aren’t being properly compensated for the work they do.

Although we usually report on unpaid wage violations that occur here in South Carolina, readers of our blog know that our state is not the only one to experience such unlawful behavior. Our readers can see this playing out in Connecticut this month where a student group at Yale University has recently begun protesting the treatment of several workers at one particular convenience store. According to the group’s main organizer, the store is guilty of paying several workers less than minimum wage and failing to compensate for overtime hours.

While it’s unclear if the workers at this particular store were immigrant workers, we’ve seen in past instances where this has been the case. As we mentioned before, this is often because some employers assume that their employees will not know that they are being mistreated and will not file any complaints against them for violating state employment laws. But as readers of our blog know, immigrants have just as much of a right to file unpaid wage claims as anyone else in the state.

Although it’s difficult to say how this particular case will work out, it’s important to point out that any immigrant worker experiencing a similar complaint has the right to seek justice in their case. Doing so with the help of a skilled attorney though is more well-advised than not.

Source: The Yale Daily News, "Labor advocates continue GHeav boycott," Sebastian Medina-Tayac, Sept. 13, 2013

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