fbpx Early Arrival: When Restaurants Steal Workers’ Wages, the Undocumented Have Limited Options for Justice - Documented

Workers Face Minimum Wage Theft With Few Options for Justice in New York

This summary about minimum wage theft in New York was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

There are more than 662,000 restaurant workers employed in New York state. About 20% of them are undocumented immigrants, and when their employers steal their wages, they are left with limited options for justice.

Reporters Dhivya Sridar and Mrinali Dhembla tell the story of Alfonso Victoria, who moved to New York from Mexico in 2016. 

After Victoria’s employer denied him his complete wages multiple times, he decided to log his hours to show how much he worked. But his employer refused to believe him, and Victoria was fired after speaking about his mistreatment to the owner of a nearby restaurant.

Labor advocates criticize New York State’s Department of Labor for a complicated and slow process that discourages many workers from filing wage theft complaints. Undocumented immigrant workers face more challenges, including difficulty in navigating the legal process due to language barriers, and fear of repercussions such as deportation.

Some workers who successfully filed complaints with NYS DOL have had their cases stuck in limbo, and investigations were further delayed during the pandemic as the agency prioritized other matters.

It all combines into dire consequences for New York restaurant workers, who are guaranteed that their employers make up the difference if they earn less than minimum wage in tips — but are left with few options for recourse.

Read the full report exclusively on Documented.


New York

New York City to provide $2 million to help Ukrainian refugees: The fund will help Ukrainians access legal assistance, translation services, and more. New York similarly provided $2 million last year for Afghan refugees. — Read more

Advocates urge city to hire more teachers, social workers for immigrant students: The Education Collaborative wants the city to make schools accessible to new immigrant students aged 16-21 through a three-year, $8.2 million pilot program. — Chalkbeat

What countries most immigrants to Albany come from: Immigrants from Guyana, China, and India are among those with the highest populations living in Albany. — Stacker

Around the U.S. 

Podcast explores U.S.’s inadequate prosecuting of alleged war criminals: Experts explore why prosecutors target alleged war criminals in the U.S. for immigration violations when they can’t charge them for abuses committed abroad. — Reveal

ICE’s Miami office monitoring far more people than 2019: The ICE office has gone from electronically monitoring 4,669 people in 2019 to 14,130 today, partly due to a surge of detention alternatives under President Biden. — Miami Herald

As Title 42 termination nears, Mexico fears U.S. immigration strategy is inadequate: Mexican officials expressed concerns that ending Title 42 will lead to a migration spike and more profits for gangs unless the U.S. does more to mitigate the impact. — Reuters

Washington D.C.

Biden asks federal judge to deny requests to block Title 42 termination: The Justice Department claims states looking to maintain the expulsion order “fail to show that they face a significant, non-speculative threat of injury” if it ends. — CNN

Biden admin. begins phasing out Title 42: About 14% of single adults from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who sought to cross the border last week were processed, up from only 5% in March. — AP News

U.S. and Cuba tentatively decide to resolve relations, migration: The U.S. wants Cuba to resume accepting deportation flights, while Cuba wants U.S. consular services to be restored so people can legally come to the U.S. — AP News

Documented Advertising