/ Modified sep 20, 2017 5:34 p.m.

Some Employers Refusing to Pay Undocumented Workers

Federal officials say they will sue employers that don't pay workers, regardless of immigration status.

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Southern Arizona human rights groups are worried about what they call a pattern of worker abuse in the immigrant community, and federal officials say they are paying attention.

Joanne Williams Joanna Williams, Program Director for the Kino Border Initiative.
Kino Border Initiative
Joanne Williams, of the Kino Border Initiative said when a person works he or she should get paid. Reports of Arizona employers not paying undocumented workers have increased under the Trump Administration, according to Williams.

“We’re starting to see a pattern and we’re trying to learn more about it of individuals who are trying to assert their worker’s rights and then their employers call ICE officials on those individuals who then get detained and then deported,“ Williams said.

Mary Jo O’Neil is a federal attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She said her Phoenix office will go after Arizona employers who don’t pay workers.

Mary Jo O'Neil Mary Jo O'Neil is a federal attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

“Often the employer then threatens them with deportation or threatens that they are going to call ICE," O'Neil said. "We view that as a second violation of the law – that’s retaliation.”

O’Neil said even if the worker is deported – her office will sue the employer and seek monetary damages for that worker.

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