Employment Discrimination Based on Immigration

What Employers Should Know about Immigration and Employment.

Employment discrimination based on immigration occurs when an employer discriminates against an employee due to immigration issues.

As employers, you may not realize that discrimination can occur when you are checking prospective employees’ permission to work in the United States.

A Case Brought before the U.S. Justice Department

Employers are in the position where they must verify that employees have permission to work in the United States. At the same time, it is illegal for them to discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status or natural origin during the verification.

The case that came before the Justice Department involved Lady M, a New York based and West Coast affiliate that operate bakeries and retail boutiques. They sell confections under the Lady M brand.

A non-U.S. citizen filed a complaint that Lady M did not accept his valid documentation that proved his permission to work. The company demanded additional unnecessary documentation. Upon investigation, the department found that the company required lawful permanent residents to show their permanent resident cards (also known as green cards) as proof of permission to work. However, other various forms of documentation are also acceptable for proving permission to work. The company did not accept other proof, and this treatment set a different standard than what the company required of U.S. citizens.

What Forms of Identification Are Permissible?

Under federal law, the workers may choose which form of legally acceptable documentation to show a potential employer, regardless or citizenship, immigration status or national origin. This right is based the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). Driver’s licenses and unrestricted Social Security cards are examples of acceptable documentation.

The Outcome of the Case

As a result of the case, a settlement was reached with requirements for Lady M to do the following:

  • Pay civil penalties to the United States
  • Train staff on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision
  • Change its policies
  • Be monitored by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division for two years

(Reference: United States Department of Justice)

Employers can find out more information regarding how to avoid immigration discrimination at the IER’s website.

Do you need legal help with an issue dealing with employment discrimination based on immigration?

By addressing legal concerns or questions early on, employers can often avoid disputes and expensive lawsuits. At the outset of a potential workplace issue, you are wise to seek legal advice. If you have employment law questions, arrange an appointment. Discuss your concerns with an attorney at Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C. Call (718) 275-6500.