Immigration in general, and "illegal" immigration in particular, seem to be hot subjects across the United States. The arguments for and against comprehensive immigration reform fill the airwaves from coast to coast. Regardless of your opinion on these issues, whether you are an employer or an employee, there is one thing Oklahoma residents should understand: wage and hour laws apply to everyone.
Unfortunately, there are some employers out there who hire workers who do not have authorization to work in the United States because they believe they can save on labor costs. Sometimes this means they pay these unfortunate employees less than the legal minimum wage. Other employers will refuse to pay these workers overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week, or on holidays. Whether this is done purposefully, because the employer believes the worker will not enforce his or her rights out of fear, or because the employer is simply ignorant of the law, it is illegal.
If you entered the country illegally, overstayed a legal visa, or have an immigration status that does not authorize you to work, you still have the right to fair compensation. If you performed the work, and the employer is one to whom the wage and hour laws apply, you may be entitled to compensation if you were not paid in accordance with the law. In such a case, you may wish to seek out and speak with an experienced employment law attorney.
If you are an employer, and you are unclear as to what the law requires and you wish to avoid serious complications in the future, it might be a good idea to consult an employment lawyer. If you would like more information on our firm and how we might be able to help, please see our website.