Types Of Discrimination

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) receives charges and investigates the following types of discriminatory conduct under the Immigration and Nationality Act's (INA) anti-discrimination provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b:

1) Citizenship status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee by employers with four or more employees.

Employers are not allowed to treat individuals differently in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral for a fee based on citizenship status. You can get more information about citizenship status discrimination by contacting IER and at 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(1)(B).  Citizenship status includes a person's immigration status.  U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees, and recent lawful permanent residents are protected from citizenship status discrimination. Exceptions: lawful permanent residents who do not apply for naturalization within six months of eligibility by virtue of their period of residency are not protected from citizenship status discrimination. An employer may restrict hiring to U.S. citizen only if a law, regulation, executive order, or government contract requires the employer to do so.  Learn more about this exception by contacting IER and at 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(2)(C).

2) National origin discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee by employers with four to 14 employees.

Employers are not allowed to treat individuals differently in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral for a fee because of their actual or apparent national origin, including but not limited to their place of birth, country of origin, ancestry, native language, because they are perceived as looking or sounding "foreign," or any other national origin indicator.  All work-authorized individuals are protected from national origin discrimination by small employers under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(1)(A).  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has jurisdiction over employers with 15 or more employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, found at 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2.

3) Unfair documentary practices related to verifying the employment eligibility of employees.

Under the law that IER enforces, when verifying a workers' employment authorization, employers are not allowed to demand more or different documents than necessary, request specific documents, or reject reasonably genuine-looking documents because of a worker's citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.  This type of discrimination generally happens during the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes.  The part of the law that prohibits this type of discrimination is at 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6).

4) Retaliation/Intimidation.

Employers are not allowed to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or retaliate against individuals for filing charges with IER, cooperating with an IER investigation, opposing action that may constitue unfair documentary practices or discrimination based upon citizenship status, or national origin, or otherwise asserting their rights under the INA's anti-discrimination provision.  Learn more about unlawful intimidation and retaliation by contacting IER and at 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(5).

The information on this webpage is not intended to be a final agency action, has no legally binding effect, and has no force or effect of law. This webpage may be rescinded or modified at the Department’s discretion, in accordance with applicable laws. The Department’s guidance documents, including this webpage, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities beyond what is required by the terms of the applicable statutes, regulations, or binding judicial precedent. For more information, see "Memorandum for All Components: Prohibition of Improper Guidance Documents," from Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III, November 16, 2017.

Updated February 21, 2019

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