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How to Avoid Immigration Discrimination at Work

Immigration Status Discrimination transpires when an employer ministers a person differently based upon their citizenship or immigration situation. U.S. citizens, recent permanent residents, asylees, and refugees have protection from the discrimination of their immigration status. The only exception involves permanent residents who do not apply for naturalization within six months of eligibility. These individuals’ protection is not guaranteed from immigration discrimination at work.

Immigration discrimination at work is also sometimes regarded as citizenship status discrimination. Therefore this page will provide more detail about recognizing and avoiding immigration-based discrimination in the workplace.

What are some examples of discrimination against immigrants?

After an employer has determined to extend a recommendation of employment. The individual enjoys the same protections as any other employee. Moreover, these protections are protected regardless of their immigration status or work permission.

Undocumented immigrants can file lawsuits of prejudice at the Commission and in court. Remedies comprise compensation of back pay, front pay, and emotional distress damages of an employee’s immigration status.

Discrimination established on immigration status and national origin may arise in various manners.

Immigration Discrimination

Disparate Treatment

Disparate treatment happens when an employer regales an individual less charitably than others because of their existing or perceived immigration status or national heritage. It can also be displayed through policies, treatment, harassment, and actions established on stereotypes, microinequities, or assumptions.

Hiring Practices

Compliance with federal, state, or local laws allows investigation into immigration status in specific events, not discrimination. Therefore, this retains employer verification of a job applicant’s work assignment upon employment. However, employers should not intentionally hire or employ individuals without employment authorization.

Imagine an employer employs a worker who is not authorized to work in the U.S. In that circumstance, this worker cannot be treated less charitably than other employees because of their immigration status, including their undocumented status.

Document Abuse

Employers should not:

  • request work authorization documents before an individual assume a job proposal
  • decline to accept a record or hire an individual because of expiration
  • summon an exhaustive list when re-verifying an employee is authorized to work

The above practices are referenced as “document abuse,” When motivated by discriminatory animus, they are unlawful.

Immigration Worksite Enforcement

Employers should notify employees when they learn or suspect an audit or raid will happen. Therefore the employees understand their rights and can proceed accordingly.

 It is not against the law for employers to inform their employees of a worksite raid or audit unless explicitly prohibited.

Employers may reduce the disruption of an unexpected invasion by refusing I.C.E. entrance to non-public facing areas if the agencies do not deliver a warrant signed by a judge.

Exploiting or threatening I.C.E. involvement to further a discriminatory motive, harass or intimidate employees, or retaliate against employees for engaging in a protected activity violates the law.


Harassment associated with an individual’s actual or perceived immigration status or national origin is a class of discrimination. It may consist of an isolated incident or a practice of repeated acts or manners. Disparate treatment may embody harassment when the incident or behavior of an individual fosters a culture or environment that is derogatory or offensive. The harshness or pervasiveness of the harassment applies only to damages. A single comment may be sufficient to constitute harassment.

What is discrimination based on immigration status?

Prejudice established on immigration or citizenship status transpires when an individual is handled uniquely in their employment situation because of their citizenship or immigration status.

It is separate from national origin discrimination because the characteristic of the discrimination basis is on the individual’s immigration status rather than where the individual’s or their ancestors originated.

However, both types of discrimination are against the law.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act is a federal law protecting individuals from employment discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status. The anti-discrimination law makes it illegal to discriminate based on national origin or citizenship status, firing, layoffs, recruitment, or hiring.

IRCA makes it illegal to demand more or different documents than are legally acceptable for employment verification purposes. It also makes it unlawful to refuse to honor the documents the employee offers if they are legally permitted and appear natural.

Finally, it denies intimidation, coercion, threats, or retaliation against individuals who file charges or cooperate with an investigation, proceeding, or IRCA hearing.

Some instances of potentially unlawful immigration or citizenship status prejudice include:

  • You did not get employed because the employer only uses U.S. citizens.
  • You are a temporary resident with approved work authorization. However, the company denies you employment because it doesn’t want to deal with the appropriate paperwork.
  • The request for Muslim, Asian, and Latino employees to provide copies of their work authorization papers.
  • You show your employer your valid driver’s license and social security card, but your supervisor insists that you also deliver a copy of your green card. Point out that this is not a requirement by law to fill out the I-9 form.
  • Sign up with a hiring agency, and learn an employer has worked for someone with expertise. However, the agency declines to refer you to function for this employer because the employer only hires U.S. citizens.

Harassment, discrimination, or retaliation against an undocumented worker based on other protected statuses, such as racesex, or religion, also violates the law.

Which federal laws cover discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status?

The Immigration and Nationality Act is an amendment to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The I.N.A. is a federal law protecting all immigration matters virtually. It covers individuals from employment discrimination established on immigration or citizenship status. In addition, it restricts document abuse discrimination, which transpires when employers demand more or different documents than are mandated to demonstrate employment eligibility and identity.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that safeguards individuals’ rights from discrimination founded upon national origin. In addition, it defends undocumented workers from other conditions of discrimination, such as discrimination established on race, colorsex, or religion.

Other federal laws forbid discrimination against undocumented workers based on age and disability.

While several other workplace regulations also cover workers, these are the primary federal regulations that protect workers against discrimination.

How to prevent immigration discrimination in the workplace?

The Immigration and Nationality Act restricts employers from discriminating against individuals based on their citizenship or immigration status, or national origin during the hiring, firing, and recruiting, Form I-9 or E-Verify strategies.

Employers should develop, implement, and enforce nondiscrimination policies, practices, and procedures and ensure that all employees understand the rules. Employers should also provide adequate training on employer responsibilities and worker rights.

I.E.R. generally investigates national origin claims against employers with four to 14 employees, and EEOC generally investigates federal origin claims against employers with 15 or more employees.

Preventing Discrimination in the Form I-9 and E-Verify Processes

Employers must accept any valid document an employee presents as long as the document reasonably appears genuine and relates to the employee. Most can find these documents on the Lists of Acceptable Documents. Employers cannot be based on an individual’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

The Bottom Line

Discrimination of any sort is wrong. The only way to combat prejudice is to bring awareness to these issues. We at Akkencloud believe you should not tolerate discrimination based on immigration status.

As a result of reading this article, you as an employee and employer have become well informed. You now know the scenarios in which immigrants or other minorities might experience discrimination. You also know the laws prohibiting immigration-related employment discrimination.

The knowledge you have obtained now will help you prevent immigration discrimination at work.

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