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Immigrant Workers' Rights

October 2019

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.

    Use esta guía para aprender sobre sus derechos y responsabilidades como trabajador inmigrante en los Estados Unidos. Anote las horas que trabaje y la información sobre su empleador.

    Use esta hoja para mantener un registro de sus horas.

      Workers’ rights

      Every worker has these rights:

      • You must be paid for all of the hours you worked at the agreed upon wage.
      • You must be paid at least $11.00 per hour in Connecticut.
      • You must get overtime pay (1.5 x your regular wage) for every hour over 40 hours you worked in a week for one employer.
      • You must be paid for your time, starting from when the employer picks you up and ending when you are dropped you off. This must include any time you spent waiting for materials to arrive or for equipment to be repaired.

      File a complaint with Connecticut Department of Labor at 860-263-6790 if you have not been paid for time you spent working.

      • You must get an unpaid 30-minute meal break for every 7.5-hour shift that you work.
      • You must work in a safe place that is free from physical, emotional, and sexual harm.
      • You must not be discriminated against based on your race, religion, national origin, gender, or age.
      • You have the right to take group action to improve your working conditions and pay without threats of retaliation. File a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at 1-844-762-NLRB if you are retaliated against for taking group action. 

      File a complaint with OSHA at 203-579-5581 if you feel you are working in an unsafe or unhealthy environment. If it is an emergency, call 1-800-321-6742. 

      • You must get medical treatment and missed wages if you are 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.

      • You are free to quit your job at any time if you are unhappy with it for any reason.

      Workers’ responsibilities

      Every worker must do these things:

      • 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. Find out your employer’s full name, telephone number and address. The more information you have, the more likely you will be paid.
      • Keep records of the days, times, and locations you worked and the wages you were paid.
      • Keep copies of bounced checks from the employer.
      • Get to know your coworkers. They may help as witnesses and having witnesses could make your case stronger. 
      • Tell your coworkers and the community which employers have a history of not paying their workers.

      Keeping your job

      • Be open to learning and trying new things.
      • Work hard, do your best, and cooperate with your coworkers to get the job done.
      • Communicate with your employer. For example, if you don’t understand the employer’s instructions or you have a problem with a coworker, tell your employer.

      Things you should NOT do at work

      • Leave your job without telling your employer.
      • Send someone else to work 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 to or argue with employers, coworkers, or customers. 
      • Continue working for an employer who does not pay you.

      Get Help From Legal Aid

      Age 60+: Get help from legal aid.
      Under age 60: Find legal help or apply online.
      Not from Connecticut? Find help in another state.