IER Policy and Outreach News

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Please note that as of January 18, 2017, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has been renamed the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).

IMMIGRANT AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS SECTION (IER) PUBLISHES FLYER FOR ASYLEES AND REFUGEES ON EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS AND RESOURCES.  On January 18, 2017, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) issued a new resource for asylees, refugees, and their advocates.  Asylees and refugees have permanent permission to live and work in the United States.  This new resource, titled Employment Rights and Resources for Refugees and Asylees, discusses several rights that asylees and refugees have in the workplace and how to contact relevant federal agencies if they believe their rights are being violated.  The resource is available here.

IMMIGRANT AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS SECTION ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS ON AVOIDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CITIZENS OF THE FREELY ASSOCIATED STATES.  On January 18, 2017, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) issued guidance for employers on avoiding discrimination against citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau.  As the guidance discusses, citizens of the FSM, the RMI, and Palau (collectively referred to as the “Freely Associated States” or “FAS”) are eligible under the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and the FAS (“Compacts”) for admission to the United States as nonimmigrants, and are eligible to live and work indefinitely in the United States.  FAS citizens are eligible for a variety of documentation that can satisfy the Form I-9 and employers should allow FAS citizens to choose which docuherements to present from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents to establish their identity and work authorization.  The guidance is available here.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH PERU TO COMBAT EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION. The Justice Department and the government of Peru announced a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin. On January 17, 2017, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru (through its Embassy in the United States) and the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC). The MOU is available here.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION. On January 13, 2017, OSC and the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (WHD) announced a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status, and national origin, and to ensure that workers are paid properly for all the hours they work. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, WHD may serve as OSC’s agent for the purpose of accepting charges that fall under OSC’s jurisdiction, such that a charge filed with WHD on a particular date would be considered to have been filed with OSC on that date. In addition, OSC and WHD may refer charges to each other when the charge or aspects of the charge fall within the other agency’s jurisdiction, and may coordinate investigations when aspects of a charge fall within the jurisdiction of both agencies. Finally, OSC and WHD agree to provide technical assistance and training in order to better understand the policies, procedures, and law governing the enforcement activities of the other agency. OSC has numerous partnership relationships with federal, state, and local agencies and continues to develop new ways in which to engage its partners and potential partners. Coordination of efforts between the Civil Rights Division and its partners serves to promote workplaces free of discrimination. OSC welcomes the WHD as a new formal partner in this continuing effort.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AMENDS OSC’S REGULATIONS.  On December 19, 2016, the Department of Justice published a final rule revising OSC’s regulations.  The revised regulations are effective as of January 18, 2017.  The revisions conform the regulations to the text of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, simplify and add definitions of statutory terms, update and clarify the procedures for filing and processing charges of discrimination, ensure effective investigations of unfair immigration-related employment practices, reflect developments in nondiscrimination case law, reflect changes in existing practices such as electronic filing of charges, and reflect OSC’s new name: the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).  The final rule is available here.   

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH HONDURAS TO COMBAT EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION.  On December 7, 2016, the Justice Department and the government of Honduras announced a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Honduran Charge D’Affaires Luís F. Cordero signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the embassy and its consulates, and OSC.  As part of the MOU, OSC and the Honduran government will collaborate to educate workers about their employment rights and provide them with the resources needed to protect those rights. The MOU also seeks to promote training for employers on their obligations under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  The MOU is available here.

REVISED FORM I-9 AVAILABLE.  On November 14, 2016, USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  Employers may continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 N. through Jan. 21, 2017.  By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use the revised form. Employers should continue to follow existing storage and retentions rules for all of their previously completed Forms I-9. Read the USCIS News Release, and visit I-9 Central for more information.

English and Spanish versions of the new form are available online at www.uscis.gov. For more information, please call 888-464-4218 or visit I-9 Central online.

OSC CHARGE FORM AVAILABLE ELECTRONICALLY IN 11 LANGUAGES.  On September 23, 2016, OSC announced that members of the public can now complete and submit charge forms online through OSC’s website in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese in addition to English and Spanish.  The public can continue to submit charge forms by mail, fax, and email as well. 

If you have any questions or if you suspect employment discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, we encourage you to contact OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (Mon – Fri, 9am-5pm Eastern Time), or 1-800-237-2515 (TTY for hearing impaired).

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH MEXICO TO COMBAT EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION.  On September 1, 2016, the Justice Department and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States established a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the embassy and its consulates, and OSC.  As part of the MOU, OSC and the Mexican government will collaborate to educate workers about their employment rights and provide them with the resources needed to protect those rights.  The MOU also seeks to promote training for employers on their obligations under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  The MOU is available here

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WARNS EMPLOYERS NOT TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SALVADORAN WORKERS WITH TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS IN NEWLY-RELEASED VIDEO.  On August 25, 2016, the Justice Department announced the launch of an updated educational video reminding employers that Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may continue working beyond the Sept. 9, 2016, expiration date of their employment authorization documents.  The Justice Department also cautions employers that requesting additional work-authorization documents from these workers may violate anti-discrimination law.  The video–released by OSC–explains that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) automatically extended the validity of employment authorization documents for Salvadorans with TPS until March 9, 2017.  Requesting additional work-authorization documents from these workers may violate the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  The updated video can be viewed here.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH REPUBLIC OF EL SALVADOR TO COMBAT EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION. On June 30, 2016, the Justice Department and the Republic of El Salvador established a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Salvadoran Ambassador Claudia Canjura De Centeno signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the embassy and its consulates and OSC.  As part of the MOU, OSC and the Salvadoran government will collaborate to educate workers about their employment rights and to provide them with the resources needed to protect those rights.  Additionally, the MOU seeks to promote training for employers on their obligations under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  The MOU is available here

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCE JOINT GUIDANCE TO EMPLOYERS ON INTERNAL FORM I-9 AUDITS.  On December 14, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and OSC announced the issuance of joint Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits.  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers are required to verify the work-authorization of their employees using the Form I-9 and are prohibited from knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.  Employers seeking to ensure their Form I-9 practices comply with federal law are increasingly conducting internal audits of their Forms I-9.  To ensure that these audits are conducted properly and do not discriminate against employees, ICE and OSC have collaborated to issue formal guidance on the topic.  Among other things, the guidance provides employers with information regarding the scope and purpose of audits; considerations before conducting internal audits; details regarding how to correct errors, omissions, or other deficiencies found on Forms I-9 and how to cure deficiencies related to E-Verify queries; and guidance regarding the anti-discrimination mandate.  The joint guidance can be found here.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH REPUBLIC OF ECUADOR TO COMBAT EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION.  On December 4, 2015, the Justice Department and the Republic of Ecuador established a formal partnership to fight employment discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and Ecuadorean Ambassador Francisco Borja Cevallos signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) creating a partnership between the embassy and its consulates, and OSC.  The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers in the United States from discriminating in hiring, firing, recruiting or verifying a worker’s employment eligibility because of citizenship, immigration status or national origin. The MOU seeks to empower work-authorized Ecuadorians in the United States by educating them about their rights and providing them with the resources needed to protect those rights.  The MOU will also promote training for employers on their responsibilities under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which prohibits employment discrimination because of citizenship, immigration status and national origin.  The MOU is available here.

REFUGEE FORM I-94 AUTOMATION.  On September 7, 2015, the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, processing for refugees became automated. A computer-generated Form I-94 print out presented by a refugee without a stamp is an acceptable receipt for the Form I-9. In most cases, refugees will no longer receive the paper I-94 but can obtain a copy of their I-94 record online from “Get I-94 Information”. Click here for more details and the Form I-9 processing instructions for employers and for refugees.

UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT I-94 AUTOMATION. On March 27, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published an Interim Final Rule allowing for the automation of Forms I-94 for most individuals who arrive to the United States by air or by sea. Although some travelers, such as refugees or asylees, may still receive paper I-94 at airports or seaports, most other individuals will need to printout their Forms I-94 from a CBP website after their arrival. For more information, visit CBP's I-94 webpage: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home#section.

OSC RELEASES NEW EDUCATIONAL VIDEO. The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) recently released an educational video reminding employers that Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may continue working beyond the January 22, 2013, expiration date of their Employment Authorization Cards. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that Employment Authorization Cards for individuals from Haiti with TPS are automatically extended through July 22, 2013.

SELF-AUDIT GUIDANCE UPDATE. Following OSC's September 13, 2012, stakeholder input session addressing the topic of employer self-audits of I-9 Forms, OSC accepted comments from the public through November 9, 2012. OSC received numerous comments from its stakeholders and we wish to thank everyone who submitted comments as we move to develop this guidance.

OSC and USCIS TO PRESENT JOINT WEBINARS ON EMPLOYEE RIGHTS DURING THE I-9 AND E-VERIFY PROCESS. OSC has joined with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to present webinars on employee rights during the E-Verify and Form I-9 employment eligibility verification processes. The first two joint USCIS/OSC employee rights webinars will be held November 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm EST and November 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm EST. Sign up to attend a free webinar.

OSC SIGNS TWO NEW MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING. OSC announces it has entered into Memoranda of Understanding with two new fair employment practices agency (FEPA) partners: the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission. Under each Memorandum of Understanding, OSC and the FEPA agree to serve as respective agents for the purpose of accepting charges that fall within each other's jurisdiction, such that a charge filed with one agency on a particular date is considered to have been filed with the other agency on that date. In addition, OSC and the FEPA agree to refer charges to each other when the charge or aspects of the charge fall within the other agency's jurisdiction, and to coordinate investigations when aspects of a charge fall within the jurisdiction of both agencies. Finally, OSC and each FEPA agree to provide technical assistance and training in order to better understand the policies, procedure and law governing the enforcement activities of the other party. OSC has numerous partnership relationships with local, state and federal agencies and continues to develop new ways in which to engage its partners and potential partners. Coordination of efforts between the Civil Rights Division and its partners serves to promote workplaces free of discrimination. OSC welcomes the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission as a new partners in this continuing effort.

OSC SIGNS NEW MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING. OSC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on June 27, 2012, with a new partner, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the fair employment practices agency for the State of Missouri. The two agencies have agreed to serve as respective agents for the purpose of accepting charges that fall within each other's jurisdiction in order to satisfy time limits for filing charges. In addition, they agree to refer charges to each other when the charge or aspects of the charge fall within the other agency's jurisdiction, and to coordinate investigations when aspects of a charge fall within the jurisdiction of both agencies. Finally the two agencies agree to provide technical assistance and training in order to better understand the policies, procedure and law governing the enforcement activities of the other party.

OSC RELEASES TWO NEW EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS. On June 20, 2012, OSC released a short educational video highlighting common problems encountered by employers when reverifying the employment authorization of refugees (and asylees) and providing guidance on how to avoid violating the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. OSC also released a second educational video that encourages employers, employees and advocates to attend a free webinar on unfair employment practices under the INA.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REMINDS EMPLOYERS OF ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION RULES FOR SALVADORAN WORKERS WITH TPS. On March 9, 2012, OSC released an educational video informing employers how they can continue to employ workers whose employment eligibility verification documents have been automatically extended from March 9, 2012 until September 9, 2012, pursuant to Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans.

 

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Updated February 9, 2017