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Immigrant Workers

Know Your Rights

If you work in NYC, you have rights regardless of immigration status, national origin, or country of origin.

The Office of Labor Policy & Standards

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) is NYC’s central resource for workers. DCWP protects and promotes labor standards and policies that create fair workplaces to ensure all workers can realize their rights, regardless of immigration status. For more information your workplace rights, to ask a question, or to file a complaint, visit nyc.gov/workers.

NYC Human Rights Law

All New Yorkers deserve fairness and respect in the workplace. Employers cannot:

  • Pay workers lower wages or no wage because of their immigration status
  • Harass or make fun of workers because of their nationality, religious beliefs or attire, accent, or immigration status
  • Punish workers for speaking their own language
  • Threaten workers about calling the police because of their immigration status
  • Refuse to hire someone because of their nationality, religious beliefs, attire or accent

Discrimination

If you are treated differently by an employer because of what country you come from, your immigration status, religious beliefs, or accent, call 311 and say "HUMAN RIGHTS," to report it to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you based on your citizenship status, national origin, or other protected ground under the City Human Rights Law. An employer cannot discriminate when:

  • Deciding to hire or fire you;
  • Deciding what to pay you; or
  • Making other work-related decisions (including promotions or discipline).

It is not illegal to refuse to hire you or fire you if you are not allowed to work in this country. However, it is against city and state law for your employer to pay you less than the minimum wage or refuse to follow overtime rules because of your immigration status. An employer also cannot pay you less than other workers or treat you differently because of your immigration status, including because you are undocumented.

Workers' Compensation

If you get hurt or disabled because of your job, you may be eligible for weekly cash payments and free health care, even if you are paid in cash, “paid off the books”, paid as an independent contractor, or not reported to the government as an employee.

Learn more at the New York State Workers' Compensation Board at (800) 877-1373 or visit the Workers' Compensation Board website.

Workforce1 Career Centers

Immigrants who are allowed to work in this country can get help from some City agencies. Workforce1 Career Centers prepare and connect qualified jobseekers to employment opportunities. Workforce1 Career Centers also connect qualified individuals to occupations training, and provide career services workshops and career advice. Anyone 18 years or older can visit a Workforce1 Career Center. Please note: Valid ID is required to prove your date of birth. Examples include: IDNYC, New York State Driver's License, birth certificate, passport, and more.


Summer Youth Employment Program

Youth between the ages of 14 and 24 may be able to gain work experience and connect to educational opportunities through the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)'s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).