Receiving a temporary work visa (H-1B,H-2B, L-1, E-2, O-1) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is generally a stepping stone to becoming a Permanent Resident. The process one must go through to obtain their initial work visa can be lengthy and difficult, and sometimes USCIS denis their applications. If you are on a temporary work visa, now is the time to become more informed on what your rights are as a temporary worker in the U.S.
What rights do I have as a temporary worker in the U.S.?
As someone who has been granted permission to work in the U.S., these are some of the rights you have:
- To be paid fairly.
When employed in the U.S., you have the right to earn at least federal minimum wage for most jobs and you should be paid for any work you do. Although your employer is permitted to take money from your check, which we refer to as deductions, it is considered illegal if “you are left with less than the legally required wage rate after the deduction.” Your employer should only take out lawful deductions such as health insurance, union dues, wage advances, etc. If you are on certain visas like the H-1B or H-2B, you are required to be paid the prevailing wage, even if the employer wants to “bench” you.
- To be free from discrimination.
Never should your employer treat you differently or badly because of your age, race, gender, sex national original, ethnicity, color, religion, etc.
- To be free from sexual harassment and sexual exploitation.
It is unlawful in any workplace for an employer or staff member to make offensive sexual or gender-based comments toward you as well as sexually exploit you.
- To have a healthy and safe workplace.
Despite the line of work you might be employed in, your employer is required to provide you with safe and healthy working conditions. This means your employer must provide you with the necessary protective gear and training needed to successfully keep you safe while on the job. In the event you suffer an injury while working, your employer should pay for your medical treatment as well as the full amount or a portion of the wages you were unable to earn as a result of your injury.
- To request help from union, immigrant, and labor rights groups.
Most temporary workers are entitled to “form, join, and support a union in [their] workplace.” Unions are often formed or take action when an employer isn’t fairly compensating their workers or has other conditions set into place that the workers feel aren’t conducive to establishing a fair, safe, and healthy work environment.
- To leave an abusive employment situation.
If an employer or a coworker is mistreating you or has become abusive toward you, you do have the right to leave your job. The U.S. Department of State does say that if you leave your employer, your visa status will no longer be valid, however, you may be able to change your visa or your employer so that you can remain in the U.S. and work. If you were brought to the US to work and have been abused, you may also be entitled to apply for a “T” visa, as a victim of trafficking. When circumstances such as these exist, it is essential you contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC to speak with an experienced Atlanta, GA immigration attorney.
If you believe an employer violated any of your rights while working in the U.S. on a temporary work visa, contact our firm today to speak with an experienced employment visa lawyer who will know exactly how to help resolve your issue. It is important that you understand and familiarize yourself with the rights you hold as a temporary work visa holder to ensure they aren’t violated nor are you taken advantage of. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights, don’t hesitate to contact our office today at 404-816-8611.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350