An employer cannot retaliate against a worker for exercising their rights, filing a complaint or cooperating with an investigation. The H-2A and H-2B programs and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) include specific protections against retaliation for workers.
You can visit the Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act page for more information.
Federal labor laws are intended to protect worker safety, health, and pay and to prevent employers from discriminating against workers. Many federal laws, including those applicable to the H-2A and H-2B visa programs and MSPA, protect workers from retaliation; your employer cannot terminate your employment for exercising your rights.
Your protections from retaliation are detailed in DOL publications under each area of the law:
Firing workers for raising safety concerns is illegal. You can file a complaint about your working conditions with the Labor Department and your information will be kept confidential. In some cases, immigration status may limit the remedies that you’ll be able to obtain if your employer unlawfully retaliated against you.
Anti-retaliation protections safeguard the basic rights afforded to workers in the United States. These protections hold the promise that workers can complain to the government or question their employers about violations of the law without fear that they will be terminated or subject to other adverse actions as a result.
Migrant workers who work in the U.S. through a temporary visa program always have a right to report violations to the U.S. government. Also, migrant workers in temporary visa programs and beyond may also be able to sue their employer under local, state, or federal law. Workers should consider consulting with a worker advocate or attorney to find out more about their right to sue for different suspected violations.
There are two special types of visas that can provide temporary immigration status if you are a victim of a certain crime. You could qualify for a U visa if you have suffered physical or mental abuse because of criminal activity and can provide information to law enforcement or government officials who are investigating the crime. You could qualify for a T visa if you are a victim of human trafficking and are willing to help law enforcement investigate the human trafficking crime.