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Introduction to OSC

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act § 274B, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b. This statute prohibits citizenship or immigration status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee, by employers with four or more employees. Employers may not treat individuals differently because they are, or are not, U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens and nationals, recent permanent residents, asylees and refugees are protected from citizenship status discrimination.

Section 1324b also prohibits national origin discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee, by employers with more than three and fewer than 15 employees. All individuals eligible to work in the United States – including citizens, nationals, immigrants, and temporary work visa holders -- are protected from national origin discrimination. (The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has national origin jurisdiction over employers with 15 or more employees.) In addition, section 1324b prohibits unfair documentary practices related to verifying the employment eligibility of employees. Employers may not, on the basis of citizenship status or national origin, request more or different documents than are required to verify an individual's employment eligibility and identity, reject reasonably genuine-looking documents, or specify certain documents over others. All work authorized individuals are protected from document abuse. Finally, the anti-discrimination provision prohibits employer retaliation against individuals who file charges with OSC, cooperate with investigations under section 1324b, contest action that may violate the statute, or otherwise assert their rights under the statute.

Pursuant to its statutory mandate, OSC also conducts an extensive, nationwide public education campaign to teach workers, employers and concerned organizations about section 1324b. An essential component of the Section's outreach includes its grant program. Each year, OSC awards grants to organizations to assist it in educating workers and employers in areas with sizable and/or emerging immigrant populations about their rights and responsibilities under the section 1324b. OSC also staffs employer and worker hotlines, through which it is often able to stop employers from engaging in unlawful discrimination by educating them on the spot. In addition, it distributes tens of thousands of pieces of educational materials to the public each year free of charge.

Updated August 6, 2015

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