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Guide to Labor and Employment Laws for Migrant Workers in the United States

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Foreign Workers’ Guide to Labor and Employment Laws in the United States

What are my rights as a worker in the United States?
Know the law of the state where you are working
What is the most important thing I should know about U.S. labor and employment law?
Where do I go if I believe my employer has treated me unfairly because of my sex or race or other qualities I have that make me different?
Will I be deported if I complain about the way my employer treats me or if I seek compensation for an on-the-job injury?
Is there a human rights commission in the United States?
Beware of traffickers
What do I do if my employer does not pay me the minimum wage or overtime?
What can I do if my employer does not pay me for all my work or does not pay me at all?
What can I do if I am hurt on the job?
Health insurance in the United States
Where do I go if my workplace is unsafe and I want to report it to someone?
What can I do if my employer fires me?
Where do I go if I want someone to explain the law to me and help me with my case?
Housing
Farm worker rights

Guide to Labor Relations Law in the United States

Am I covered?
State labor relations laws and farm workers
Do I have a constitutional right to be a union member?
What is a union?
Is it legal for my employer or my union to try to interfere with my rights under the NLRA?
Employers cannot retaliate against workers because workers used their labor rights
What do I do if my rights under the NLRA are violated?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Does the union have any duties toward its members?
Membership rights violations
Grievances
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)

Guide to Laws Prohibiting Forced Labor in the United States

What is forced labor?
Contact telephone numbers

 





Guide to Child Labor Laws in the United States

What is child labor?
At what age can I start to work in the United States?
Is the federal minimum age requirement the only age law I need to know?
How much money do minors earn per hour?
Wage and Hour Division
Hazardous jobs
Apprenticeship and student learner programs
What do I need to be able to work?
Can I work if I am younger than 16?
Can workers 14 or 15 years of age work as many days and hours as they want?
Age certificates and employer responsibilities
Federal and state agencies issue age certificates
Hazardous jobs for children 14 and 15 years of age
Are children working on a farm subject to the same child labor laws as other children?
What is farm work?
Can a minor who is under 16 years of age work on a farm?
Can a minor 12 or 13 years old work on a farm?
Can a minor under the age of 12 work on a farm?
Dangerous farm jobs

Guide to Minimum Employment Standards, Pay Deductions and Unemployment Compensation in the United States

What is the minimum hourly wage?
Can youths be paid less than the minimum wage?
Should I be paid for all hours worked?
Are farm workers paid the minimum wage?
Exceptions to the minimum wage
Many states also have minimum wage laws
Do undocumented workers receive the minimum wage?
What is overtime pay?
How much overtime pay should I receive?
Can I agree to give up the right to receive overtime pay?
Do farm workers have a right to overtime pay?
Do undocumented workers receive overtime pay?
How to figure out overtime pay
What is a “deduction”?
What taxes are deducted from a worker’s earnings?
What expenses can be deducted from my earnings?
What else should I know about deductions?
Check all deductions
What happens if I lose my job?
Unemployment compensation claims
Am I entitled to a paid vacation?
What is the Family Medical Leave Act?
Who qualifies for FMLA leave?
What is a serious health condition?
Local state and employment offices provide many services

Guide to Employment Discrimination Laws in the United States

What does discrimination mean?
Sexual harassment
Reasonable accommodation
Where do I go if my employer is treating me unfairly because of my race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or disability?
City and county FEPAs
What happens if I file a complaint with the state, city or county FEPA?
Know the law of the state where you work
How do I choose where to file my discrimination complaint if there is more than one office in my community to choose from?
Some states cover more employers than the EEOC does
When should I file a complaint?
Retaliation is illegal
What happens after I file a complaint with the EEOC?
Foreign workers are covered too
I am a farm worker. Am I protected?
Equal pay for men and women

Women’s Guide to Pregnancy on the Job in the United States

Applying for a job during pregnancy
Am I protected?
What does “temporary disability” mean?
How long may I work during my pregnancy?
What if I need to take time off during my pregnancy?
Will I be paid during maternity leave?
What is temporary disability insurance?
What about larger employers?
Does my employer have to give me my job back when I return from maternity leave?
What can I do if an employer discriminates me because I am pregnant?
Will my employer pay for my prenatal health care?
Getting prenatal care
Safety for pregnant workers
Breastfeeding
Physical labor
Farm workers: Tips for a safe and health pregnancy

Guide to On-the-Job Safety and Health in the United States

Why should I care about workplace safety?
What are my rights as a worker?
What are my employer’s responsibilities?
What about farm workers?
What are my responsibilities as a worker?
Right to Refuse Dangerous Work
How do I file a complaint?
What happens after a complaint is filed?
Can my boss fire me if I file a complaint?
What happens if I get hurt on the job?

Guide to Pesticide Safety in the United States

What are pesticides?
Cleanup sites
What do pesticides look like?
What are my employer’s responsibilities?
Signs and posters
How do I protect myself from pesticides?
Retaliation
You must be trained to work with pesticides
How do I know if I have been harmed by pesticides?
Pesticides can hurt you years later
What do I do if I am harmed by pesticides?
How do I help someone that is hurt by pesticides?
Medical help

Guide to On-the-Job Injuries in the United States

I got hurt on the job. What can I do?
What is workers’ compensation?
How do I know if I can get workers’ compensation?
I am a farm worker. Am I covered?
I am a household worker. Am I covered?
If I am hurt on the job how do I get workers’ compensation benefits?
Can I choose my own health care provider (doctor) to treat my on-the-job injury?
What medical expenses are covered?
Can I sue my employer if I am hurt on the job?
Prevent injury by working safely
What if my employer or workers’ compensation insurance company denies my claim?
What if I get injured outside the state where I live or where my employer is located?
Do I pay for workers’ compensation insurance premiums? Can my employer deduct premiums from my paycheck?
Are all my work-related injuries covered?
Is workers’ compensation like welfare?
What kinds of benefits will I receive if I am hurt on the job?
What if I don’t receive benefits on time?
Death benefits
Types of disabilities covered in most states

Guide to Social Security and Retirement in the United States

Why is Social Security important to me?
Who qualifies for Social Security benefits?
Who pays for the Social Security program?
What are “credits”?
Do I have enough credits to get SS benefits?
What is the Social Security number for?
I am in the United States on a temporary work visa. Must I pay SS tax?
Visa classifications that allow you to work
What about migrant and seasonal farm workers?
What about household workers?
How can I make sure my employer is making Social Security contributions?
How much will I get in retirement benefits?
What if I become disabled or reach retirement age and do not have enough credits?
How do I apply for Social Security benefits?
Will I lose my Social Security benefits if I leave the country?

Guide to Disability and Health Care in the United States

Why is Social Security important to me?
Who qualifies for Social Security disability benefits?
What does “disability” mean?
What if I can’t work the way that I used to because of my disability?
How does Social Security work?
Do I have enough credits to get SS benefits?
How much will I get in disability benefits?
What if I don’t have enough credits for disability benefits?
Health care for migrant farm workers
Will I be able to collect disability benefits if I get hurt or sick on the job?
How do I apply for Social Security benefits?
What happens if I apply for disability benefits and they are denied?
Will I lose my Social Security if I leave the country?

Guide to the H-2A Visa Program in the United States

What is the H-2A visa program?
Can I earn less than the minimum wage?
Can I earn more than the minimum wage?
Is housing provided to H-2A workers?
What do H-2A workers do for meals?
What happens if I get hurt on the job?
How much should I be paid?
What should be in a worker contract?
What is a wage statement?
Can workers on H-2A visas work for a different employer than the employer in their contract?
Wage deductions for H-2A workers
Do I have to work all of the hours in my contract?
Is my employer required to offer me hours?
What happens if my employer does not offer the required hours?
What happens if something prevents the contract from being fulfilled?
What happens if I am fired without cause?
Who pays for travel?
How do I add up the three-fourths guarantee?

Guide to the H-2B Temporary Work Visa Program in the United States

Do I need any special qualifications to apply for this program?
Do I need a job to apply for the H-2B visa?
How long can I work in the United States with the H-2B visa?
Can I change employers?
Can my family come with me?
What does temporary work mean for H-2B purposes?
Tree planters
Can I apply for a green card?
How much will I get paid?
Am I entitled to be paid for overtime?
What do I do if my employer does not pay me the minimum wage or violates my other rights?
I work on a farm. Does this mean I am a farm worker under the law?
What if I get hurt on the job?

Guide to the Law Protecting Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers in the United States

What does the MSAWPA protect?
What should I know about someone who recruits me for farm work?
What is a farm labor contractor?
Can the farm labor contractor or grower transport me to the field?
What should I know before I go to the field with a farm labor contractor?
You can receive information in your own language
Housing must meet health and safety standards
Is there anything else my employer should tell me?
Wages and work conditions
What do I do if the farm labor contractor or the grower does not follow the law?
Am I protected by other employment laws?
What happens if I get hurt on the job?
Buying from a grower or contractor

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Disclaimer: The legal content in this Guide is meant for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact a lawyer with appropriate expertise.

Copyright: This Guide is in the public domain and may be freely downloaded, reproduced and distributed without permission.

If you have questions or comments about this Guide, contact us at migrants@naalc.org or (202) 464-1100.

Copyright © 2004 Commission for Labor Cooperation. Website design by Globescope, Inc.