Immigrant Workers' Rights

This article was produced by CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Immigrant Workers' Rights

Use this article to learn about your rights and responsibilities as an immigrant worker in the United States. Keep track of the hours you work, and note information about your employer.

Use this sheet to keep track of your hours.

 

WORKERS' RIGHTS

Every worker has the right to:

  • Be paid weekly for all the hours worked at the agreed upon wage.
  • Receive a wage of at least $8.25 per hour in Connecticut.
  • Receive overtime pay (1.5 x your regular wage) for every hour over 40 hours worked in a week for one employer.
  • Be paid for your time, starting from when the employer picks you up and ending when he drops you off, including any time spent waiting for materials to arrive or equipment to be repaired.
  • An unpaid 30 minute meal break for every 7.5 hour shift.
  • File a complaint with Connecticut Department of Labor at 860-263-6790 if you have not been paid according to the law.
  • Work free from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender and/or age.
  • Work free from physical, emotional and sexual harm.
  • Take group action to improve working conditions and pay without threats of retaliation.
  • Work in a safe place. 
  • File a complaint with OSHA at 203-579-5581 if you feel you are working in an unsafe or unhealthy environment. If it’s an emergency call 1-800-321-6742. 
  • Receive medical treatment and missed wages if hurt while on the job and your injury prevents you from working.
  • File a complaint with the Worker’s Compensation Commission at 203-325-3881 if you have been injured while working on the job.
  • Quit your job at any time if you are unhappy with it for any reason.

 

WORKER’S RESPONSIBILITIES

Every worker has the responsibility to:

  • Before accepting a job: find out how much you will be paid, who will pay you, where your employer will return you at the end of the day, and if your employer will provide tools and safety equipment.
  • Call the employer beforehand if you will be late or absent.
  • Get to work on time every day and know your work schedule.
  • DOCUMENT EVERYTHING - It is important to have information about your employer.  The more information you have the more likely you will be paid.
  • Keep records of days and times worked and the wages paid.
  • Keep copies of bounced checks.
  • Get to know your co-workers.  They may help as witnesses and make your case much stronger. 
  • Share with your co-workers and the community the names of the employers that have a history of not paying their workers.

 

KEEPING YOUR JOB

  • Shake hands firmly and make eye contact with your employer.
  • Be resourceful and open to learning and trying new things.
  • Cooperate with your co-workers to get the job done.
  • Communicate with your employer.  For example, if you don’t understand the employer’s instructions or have a problem with a co-worker, tell your employer.
  • Work hard, do your best and remember that you are representing your community.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT  DO AT WORK

  • Leave your job without telling your employer.
  • Send someone else in your place.
  • Say that you have experience when you don’t.
  • Lie about your status in this country.
  • Drink alcohol before or during work.
  • Be rude or argue with employers, co-workers or customers. 
  • Continue working for an employer who does not pay you.

 

To Protect Your Rights

Get free legal help from the Stamford Day Laborer Wage Clinic for low-income workers on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 6pm to 8pm at 20 Summer Street, Stamford, CT.

Call (203) 348-9216 x 4526 for more information.

For more information, contact:

Statewide Legal Services: 860-344-0380 (Central CT & Middletown) or 1-800-453-3320 (all other regions).

For people over 60, click here to get help from legal aid.

Not from Connecticut?

Most of the information on this website is for Connecticut residents only.
Find help in another state.

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