For Immediate Release - May 01, 2017

On International Workers Day, AG Healey Issues Advisory on Protections for Immigrant Workers

Reminds Workers and Employers That All Workers Are Entitled to Protections Regardless of Immigration Status

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey today issued an advisory for immigrants to reaffirm her office’s commitment to protecting the rights of all workers.

The advisory has been posted on the AG’s website and shared with community groups and is currently available in Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese, and will soon be available in additional languages.

“In Massachusetts, our labor and employment laws protect every worker, regardless of their immigration status,” said AG Healey. “When dishonest employers hire undocumented workers under the table and then threaten them with deportation, it cheats the workers and makes it harder for honest businesses to compete. Today, my office is sending a message: if you’re being threatened by your employer, our laws protect you.”

The advisory states that the AG’s Office serves all workers, irrespective of immigration status, and does not inquire about an individual’s immigration status.

Under state laws, all workers have the right to be paid a legal rate of pay, in full and on time, including minimum wage, overtime, and the prevailing wage on public works projects. Additional workplace protections include the right to be free from sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination while at work, the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to organize, and the right to be classified properly as an employee. 

The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division enforces laws that protect workers, including minimum wage, payment of wages, overtime, tip pooling, child labor, Sunday and holiday premium pay, and the public construction bid laws.

The Division has broad powers to investigate violations and enforce these laws through criminal and civil actions. The Division protects employees from exploitation, prosecutes employers who are failing to follow state wage and hour laws, and sets a level playing field for law-abiding employers. The AG’s Office ensures that strong economic growth and fairness for workers go hand-in-hand.

Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace can also call the office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the state’s wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.