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Employer retaliation: A new form of workplace discrimination?

As more and more global recruitments are taking place for the importation of international workers, new forms of workplace discrimination are emerging. One of these concerns protection for a worker who has been a victim of retaliation from an employer.

In one case, a nurse from the Philippines, who had been recruited abroad, was denied a written contract after beginning her job at a New York nursing home. She soon learned her foreign national co-workers were in similar situations. The staff was required to carry uncommonly high patient loads, was denied breaks, paid near-slave wages, and suffered other intolerable work conditions. Although the nurse had proper documentation and legal status, she soon realized she had no protection under current labor laws.

Her hopes to achieve the American dream quickly vanished, replaced by disenfranchisement, marginalization and hopelessness. She claims efforts to speak to her supervisors resulted in retaliatory consequences. Retaliatory consequences often include physical and emotional intimidation, blacklisting, or racial and sexual innuendos at the workplace. These retaliatory responses by employers are a violation of employee rights.

As immigration reform debate continues in the Senate, provisions for the bill include protecting the rights of all workers who come forth and express a complaint against unorthodox recruitment or unfair labor practices. The pending bill forbids retaliation against these workers and implements a wider range of employer consequences for mistreatment of alleged whistleblowers.

Until this bill is passed, ironically, those who are here legally are subjected to the same workplace discrimination as their illegal counterparts.

If you suspect someone you work with is a victim of employer retaliation, it is advisable to consult an employee rights attorney. Until the pending bill becomes reality, immigrant rights will continue to be violated and inequality at the workplace will be a reality for all employees.

Source:  PressTV.ir, "Recruitment abuses emerge in immigration reform debate" Michelle Chen, Jun. 17, 2013

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