Worker’s Rights Review

At Higher, we frequently receive inquiries about the rights of refugee workers. To address those past and future inquiries we have compiled a list of worker’s rights and associated websites.  These rights are important topics for job readiness classes and may enable refugees to recognize instances of discrimination and unsafe working conditions.

Right to be paid – in most instances, workers have the right to be paid federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) and to receive overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week. If workers do not receive all of the wages for the time they actually worked, they can take action to recover those wages. Note that many states have minimum wages that exceed the federal minimum wage.

Right to be free of discrimination – it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against or harass workers based on race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin or sex.

Right to organize – in most workplaces, it is illegal for an employer to punish or threaten workers for organizing with others to improve their working conditions.

Right to be safe on the job – workers are protected by workplace health and safety laws at their worksites.

Right to benefits if injured on the job – in most states, workers who are injured on the job are entitled to the protections of state workers’ compensation laws.

Right to unemployment payments – in most states workers who are fully or partially unemployed, looking for work, and have valid work documentation are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Right to choose which documents to show your employer for employment eligibility verification (I-9) – for example, your employer cannot demand that you show them a green card. If you do not have a green card yet, you may show your employer your driver’s license or ID and Social Security Card (SSC).

Right to begin work – if you do not have your Social Security card but can provide other documentation of status such as an I-94, you can still begin working unless e-verify is required, in which case a SS number or card is needed at time of employment.

Right to a work environment free of harassment – if you encounter harassment in the form of sexual aggravation, taunting and bullying, or hazing, you may file a report with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Special Counsel.

Right to report unfair hiring or work practices – you can report any offenses to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Special Counsel by calling their hotline at 1-800-255-7688.

For more information, check out these resources:

How do you teach refugees in your job readiness classes about their rights in the workplace? Share with us at information@higheradvantage.org!

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WES Career Pathway Guides

Higher presents a guest post from World Education Services (WES) Global Talent Bridge announcing their new career pathways guides.

Skilled immigrants and refugees can find step-by-step guidance on how to use their international education and professional experience in the United States or Canada in World Education Services (WES) Global Talent Bridge’s new Pathways e-guide series.

What are the Pathways e-guides about?

WES Global Talent Bridge created its new Pathways e-guide series to help skilled immigrants explore career and academic pathways in their professional fields. The guides offer practical information on the different educational pathways in each field, licensing and certification requirements for common field-specific careers, and career options that make the best use of transferable skills.

The e-guides provide sector-specific advice and resources on academic requirements, career options, and, when applicable, licensing and certification requirements. A one-stop source for strategies, support, and additional resources, the Pathways e-guides are helpful at every step of the journey toward professional success for skilled immigrants in the United States or Canada.

What fields do the Pathways e-guides cover?

So far, WES Global Talent Bridge has published Pathways e-guides for the fields of nursing and education. WES Global Talent Bridge plans to publish additional e-guides for internationally trained health care professionals in the coming months. Additional future topics include regulated fields like engineering and architecture, as well as unregulated fields like business, information technology, and the creative arts.

Like Career Pathways in Nursing, the upcoming e-guides will feature:

  • Strategies for achieving career success.
  • Helpful charts highlighting licensing and certification requirements.
  • Interactive worksheets and guides.
  • Success stories spotlighting the real-life professional pathways of skilled-immigrants.
  • Links to helpful resources in each field.

For more information on WES Global Talent Bridge’s Pathways, contact Mia Nacamulli mnacamul@wes.org.

For additional information on career pathways, checkout Higher’s recertification assistance guides for engineers, accountants, pharmacists, and more. For examples of career pathway programs, go to Higher’s blog.

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Fraudulent Phone Call Alert

There have been a variety of phone call scams over time that target newcomers.  These fraudulent calls are aimed at scamming people to steal their identity or gain access to their finances. As resettlement staff, we have a responsibility to warn our clients about these phone call scams so they do not get tricked into revealing personal information.

Our contacts at the Department of Labor recently alerted Higher to a new scam: within the past few weeks, there have been reports of phone calls made from a Department of Labor phone number (202-693-2700) soliciting personal information or promising funds to those receiving the calls.

Higher is reporting that the Department of Labor has not authorized any of these calls. Please let your clients know that the Department of Labor does not and will not solicit personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers, over the phone.

Tell your clients that if they receive a call from anyone they do not know requesting personal information, they should consider it a spam call and hang up. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers helpful information about protecting yourself against fraud of all types; for more information, please visit their Scam Watch.

The FTC tracks and investigates fraud cases that are perpetuated by telephone. Anyone who has been targeted by the recent telephone scam should file a complaint with the FTC.The online complaint form is available in English and Spanish.

If you have multiple clients receiving calls from the DOL number, you should report the situation by calling the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-855-522-6748.

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BRYCS Youth Career Readiness Resources

Do you work with youth or young adults seeking employment? Your ORR technical assistance provider Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services (BRYCS)  can help.  Check out these Career Readiness Resources! The resources may be helpful for clients seeking higher education, training or certification in a particular field, or career advancement opportunities.

Did you know that ORR funds several technical assistance providers to help you improve your services? To learn more, click here.

How do you provide career readiness for youth? Share with us at information@higheradvantage.org!

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Need Professional Development? Job Readiness Training Courses? Check out Higher’s Online Learning Institute!

Higher’s Online Learning Institute is a free online system with courses designed for refugee employment staff and job readiness instructors. Once you register, you will find yourself on the welcome page. Click on My Courses to take a tour of the course system. Then click on courses to access sessions such as:  Adult Learning Principles, 6 W’s of Good Case Notes, Communicating with Employers: Initial Contact, and Employability Assessment, just to name a few! There are also courses to share with your clients and enhance your Job Readiness Training, such as Introduction to Computer Technology, How to Complete a Job Application, Understanding your Paycheck, and Interview Behavior.

All of Higher’s past webinars are also available in the Learning Institute. To access, click on Webinars from the My Courses page.

Higher’s Online Learning Institute can be used for professional development or, if used in job readiness classes, training for your client.

Sign up and learn more with Higher!

Are there courses you would like to see? Let us know! Email suggestions to information@higheradvantage.org.

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Self-Care Strategies: Three Steps to Change Irrational Beliefs

“This shouldn’t be happening!” “This is unfair!” “I do not deserve for this to happen to me.” Have you ever said something along these lines in a moment of exasperation?

According to an article in The Week titled “Changing these 4 beliefs will make you surprisingly happy,” people often hold irrational beliefs reflected in sentiments like these without even realizing it. Renowned psychologist Albert Ellis points out that “beliefs are what cause the majority of unhappiness, anger, and anxiety you experience.” The number one irrational belief is that life is fair, and when things don’t go as we would like, we have the right to be extremely angry. You’ve likely encountered this irrational belief without realizing it at work or in daily life.

The author of the article suggests three steps to battle an irrational belief—identify the underlying belief, dispute that belief, and replace the belief. In other words,

  1. Pause with the issue and identify the root problem. If you are having trouble identifying the root problem, discuss these issues with a partner, spouse, friend or family member.
  2. Dispute the interpretation of the problem as being irrational. Is there any way that your belief is rational?
  3. Then replace the irrational belief with a reasonable stance. Everyone would prefer to be treated fairly in all ways, but things are not always going to work out that way. Are there are other steps you could take to prevent the problem or your reaction to a problem?

The overall message should be, don’t be surprised when life does not go the way you want it to go. By replacing an irrational belief such as “This shouldn’t be happening!” it can decrease your stress levels and improve their decision-making.

To learn about the other three irrational beliefs in the article, click here.

How do you mentally prepare refugees for the U.S. workplace? Share your ideas with us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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National Financial Literacy Month 2018

April is National Financial Literacy Month and a reminder to all of us of just how important financial literacy is in the United States. Teaching financial literacy to every newly arriving refugee family member is a crucial part of resettlement process.

Financial literacy should cover, at minimum, physical money, checks, debit and credit cards, loans (including the travel loan, if appropriate), how to open and operate bank accounts, how to read a paycheck, taxes, and personal budgeting.

In order to give your clients a 360 degree education of the US financial system, Higher recommends partnering with a local financial institution or nonprofit organization to help educate your clients with an in-depth look at financial literacy. Another recommendation is that financial literacy should be taught as a separate breakout session in job readiness classes.

For more resources on teaching financial literacy:

What are you doing to teach financial literacy to clients? Share with us at information@higheradvantage.org!

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Webinar Reminder! Higher Presents: A Guide to Labor Market Information for Refugee Employment

Higher is excited to announce the publication of a guide to understanding and utilizing Labor Market Information to maximize refugee employment outcomes.  Whether you are a seasoned refugee employment professional or new to the field, labor market information (LMI) is a valuable tool for counseling refugees on employment options and matching clients with quality job placements. For job development, LMI can arm you with the information to elevate job placements that are low-skill entry-level jobs to a higher quality first job placement. For job readiness training, LMI helps you tailor curricula to meet the skills employers require for specific jobs.

Join Higher tomorrow, Tuesday, March 27 at 3 PM for a webinar on LMI and the official release of the LMI guidebook. The webinar will include a review of the guide and a discussion with a refugee employment manager on strategies for utilizing LMI in the field.

REGISTER HERE

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Upcoming Webinar Opportunities from Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER)

If you’re a worker or job developer, please join Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER) Section from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice for a worker/job developer track webinar on employee rights during the E-Verify and Form I-9 employment eligibility processes. An employer track webinar is also available to Employers/HR professionals. Either way, you can participate in a knowledgeable one-hour presentation conducted live from the IER Section’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Click here to register.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm EST (for Workers/Job Developer)

For webinar materials in alternate format or other reasonable accommodation requests, contact Lorren Love at Lorren.Love@usdoj.gov or (202)616-5594 at least one week before the webinar or as soon as possible, to ensure there is adequate time to arrange for the accommodation.

Please note, there is a maximum registration of 500 participants for each webinar, so sign up today!

To discuss possible discrimination with IER:

  • Worker Hotline: 1-800-255-7688
  • Employer Hotline: 1-800-255-8155
  • TTY: 1-800-237-2515
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Webinar Reminder! Higher Presents: A Guide to Labor Market Information for Refugee Employment

Higher is excited to announce the publication of a guide to understanding and utilizing Labor Market Information to maximize refugee employment outcomes.  Whether you are a seasoned refugee employment professional or new to the field, labor market information (LMI) is a valuable tool for counseling refugees on employment options and matching clients with quality job placements. For job development, LMI can arm you with the information to elevate job placements that are low-skill entry-level jobs to a higher quality first job placement. For job readiness training, LMI helps you tailor curricula to meet the skills employers require for specific jobs.

Join Higher Tuesday, March 27 at 3 PM for a webinar on LMI and the official release of the LMI guidebook. The webinar will include a review of the guide and a discussion with a refugee employment manager on strategies for utilizing LMI in the field.

REGISTER HERE

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