Many undocumented workers who suffer sexual harassment at work are afraid to report their experiences. They worry that their supervisors will retaliate against them, costing them their jobs. Or, worse, that they will be arrested, detained and deported as retribution.
Sexual harassment is not only unethical, it illegal. This is true for workers who are citizens and workers who are undocumented immigrants. And though some employers may try to retaliate against employees who report harassment, this behavior is also illegal and can carry serious penalties. In this blog post, we will discuss dealing with sexual harassment as an undocumented worker.
Reporting sexual harassment
Any employer that has more than 15 employees is bound by federal employment laws. These laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate based on, among other things, gender, nation of origin and race. It is also illegal to punish or fire an employee for reporting sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, some supervisors still try to retaliate against employees who bring incidents of sexual harassment to light. If this happens, the victim has legal recourse. It may sometimes be necessary to bring a civil lawsuit against employers to end the sexual harassment and retaliation and recoup compensation.
Protections for undocumented employees
The issues of sexual harassment and immigration status often go hand in hand for undocumented workers. Some superiors will select victims who are immigrants because of their tenuous work eligibility. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, it is illegal to discriminate based on citizenship. This means that any employer who retaliates against workers because of their immigration status is violating the law.
One of the biggest concerns for immigrant workers who report sexual harassment is that their employer will report them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With anti-immigration sentiment on the rise, these fears are not invalid. That is why it is important for any immigrants who face sexual harassment at work to know their legal rights. When paired with the counsel of a skilled attorney, the law is on the victim’s side. Fighting for justice and compensation against sexual harassment is not always easy, but for immigrants it is often necessary.