Articles Posted in citizenship discrimination

There are millions of immigrants arriving in the United States each year, and many of these people choose to come to California.   There are many reasons one would pick California as a place to find work and make a home. There are many jobs here that immigrants can get if they want. While many think of the construction industry as a large source of employment, in California, agriculture offers a large number of employment opportunities.   Another reason people choose to live in California is because the state has some of the more progressive laws to protect immigrants in the nation.

strawberry-1328524According to a recent news article from the Californian, strawberry farmers tend to hire a lot of immigrant workers to work on their farms. Strawberry crops must be planted by hand, looked after and weeded by hand. Once the crops are producing strawberries, the fruit must be picked by hand to prevent the fruit from being bruised and to keep the plant alive, so it can produce more strawberries. For this reason, farm machines like combine harvesters are not useful in the strawberry farming industry, so manual labor is needed more so than with other crops, such as corn, which can be harvested almost entirely by machines. Continue reading

It is a sad fact some unscrupulous employers will stop at nothing to make money, even when that involves taking advantage of their hardworking employees. According to a recent news article from Orange County Breeze, three employers were recently arrested and charged with stealing wages from their employees on a public works project.

davestressedAuthorities say one businessman has been charged with four felony counts of conspiracy to take employee wages earned during a public works project, over 30 counts of taking employee wages on a public works project, 20 felony counts of tax evasion, 4 counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, and an additional 10 counts of conspiracy to file false or counterfeited documents. Continue reading

California attracts worker from Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia. Unfortunately, many of these workers have become victims of exploitation, wage and hour violations, and other illegal activities. California lawmakers have expanded protections to foreign workers and the new laws will go into effect in 2015. Under the new laws, foreign labor contractors are forbidden from charging any fees or other costs to workers for contracting activities. New protections also prevent employers and contractors from charging foreign workers with any costs or other expenses that are not charged to American workers in a similarly situated position. It limits the housing costs that employers can charge to foreign employees to ensure that they are only charged market rates.

worker-grinding-1219597-mIn addition to limiting expenses and fees, the new protections also prevent employers from requiring workers to pay any expenses prior to starting work. Employers are also prohibited from changing any terms of the contract that was originally provided to and signed by a foreign worker. Employers are able to make contractual changes if the employee is given at least 48 hours to reconsider any new modifications to the contract and must specifically consent to any changes in the contract. The new law also requires foreign labor contractors to meet additional documentation requirements. Employers and contractors must also comply with new regulations related to registration, licensing and bonding. Every employer is prohibited from using non-registered foreign labor contractors in California.

Employers who are found to be in violation of new labor laws could face strict penalties in the event of non-compliance. In addition to civil action, including a lawsuit filed by an employee, contractors and employers will also be held jointly liable for any contract and violation. The abuse of temporary foreign workers is an ongoing problem in California and throughout the United States. Third-party contractor as well as employers know that many workers are willing to come and work for low wages, even sacrificing pay for a place to work and live. This has created a host of abuses that the new California law seeks to rectify.

Worker discrimination comes in many forms, including adverse employment action, disparate treatment, and other illegal and unlawful employer activities. In a recent case, the Justice Department has announced that it reached a settlement with a San Francisco bakery involving discrimination against foreign-born workers. According to the compliant, the bakery was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by improperly rejecting a worker’s valid work authorization documents. The case was investigated by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.

one-dollar-1380007-mIn accordance with the settlement agreement, the baker will pay $26,000 in back pay and additional compensation to the employee who suffered damages as a result of the discrimination. In addition to the financial compensation owed to the individual employee, the company has agreed to modify its hiring practices and has agreed to external monitoring of those practices for the next two years. Immigrants and other non-native workers may face a number of challenges in the workplace, but every worker in the U.S. has rights and can take legal action—even without citizenship. Employers are prohibited from making assumption about the validity of employment documents based on stereotypes and unfounded assumptions.

Employers who want to insulate themselves against civil rights violations can inquire about how to review and accept I-9 documentation to prevent discrimination investigations and penalties. The Immigration and Nationality Act protects foreign workers from discrimination in the workplace. These laws prevent employers from placing additional burdens on applicants who are authorized to work because of their national origin or citizenship status. The law also protects workers from discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment of employees.