PJC In The News

Wage Justice for Immigrants

A letter to the editor published in the City Paper from Public Justice Center attorney Andrea Vaughn

July 11, 2012

Thank you for Baynard Woods’ insightful article (“The Other Occupiers,” Feature, July 4). It brought important issues afflicting our city to light: poverty, unemployment, housing, and other challenges facing undocumented immigrant populations. I write in response to the story’s suggestion that undocumented immigrant workers have no recourse when they are victims of wage theft. In reality, state and federal wage laws protect all workers, not just those with legal status. Undocumented immigrant workers have the same rights as any other worker to be paid fully for their work, to earn overtime pay, to be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy when injured on the job, and to access the court system to address violations of these laws. If laws protecting workers did not cover undocumented workers, it would create a perverse incentive to hire them. Such a system would essentially create a class of workers in slave-like conditions, where employers could receive the benefits of a worker’s labor with no legal obligation to ever pay for it.

Read the complete letter, "Wage Justice for Immigrants" (second one on the page)

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