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Information for immigrant workers about their rights

The Attorney General’s Office serves all workers, regardless of immigration status. Know your rights as an immigrant worker.

All working people are protected by labor and employment laws. At the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, we do not ask about your immigration status and we do not provide information of workers to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless required by a subpoena or judicial warrant. We do not tolerate retaliation against workers who lodge complaints with our office or who otherwise assert their rights.

As a worker, you have the right:

  • To be paid a legal rate of pay, in full and on time, including:
    • Minimum wage
    • Overtime
    • Prevailing wage on public works projects
  • To be free from sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination on the job
  • To a safe and healthy workplace
  • To organize
  • To be classified properly as an employee

Legal support for your employment rights

You are entitled to wages for work performed, regardless of immigration status

  • Once you have completed the labor, service, or performance required of you, you have “earned” your wage
  • After your wages have been earned, you must receive full and timely payment
  • The right to be paid earned wages is unconditional and cannot be surrendered under any circumstances
  • Immigration status is not a factor in determining your right to be paid earned wages

Your immigration status is not relevant to wage and hour cases

  • Because immigration status is not relevant to whether a worker is entitled to earned wages, questions related to your immigration status are excluded from cases concerning wage and hour claims
  • Immigration status has no bearing on victim or witness credibility and the victim of a crime does not need to be a citizen or a legal resident of the United States in order to testify in court

You are protected from retaliation by your employer for asserting your rights

  • Massachusetts law prohibits employers from punishing or firing employees who assert their rights under the state wage and hour laws or participate in an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office

Read the full advisory for a listing of the legal discussion surrounding these rights.

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