South Carolina residents get up and go to work every day. Once there, they expect and are entitled to safe work conditions. However, employers may be taking advantage of immigrants in the work place and using their illegal status as a vehicle to prevent reports of unsafe working conditions and instances of sexual harassment.
The AFL-CIO, a powerful labor union is lobbying for the Obama administration to give illegal immigrants a respite from deportation proceedings in order to allow the immigrants to feel safe in reporting workplace violations and hazardous work conditions. Many illegal immigrants to not report unsafe working conditions and unpaid wages because of their fear of being deported. In order to combat this issue, the labor union is asking the Department of Homeland Security to grant deportation reprieves for lower priority immigrants to remove the fear of reporting misconduct.
All employees, including undocumented individuals should not only feel comfortable, but feel encouraged to report workplace violations without the fear of employer retaliation. When illegal immigrants are retaliated against, employers may falsify criminal reports to police. Even if these reports are dismissed, removal proceedings may already be in place, despite the dropped criminal charges.
If an undocumented individuals find themselves facing deportation proceedings, it is important that they know they are entitled to a deportation defense. As part of one's defense, the working conditions, as well as the employer retaliation can be used as evidence in defense of one's case. There are legal options that can help to ensure that an individual receives justice.
Source: Fox News, "Union Demands Exemption: These Workers Should Report Unsafe Conditions," April 21, 2014