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Press Release

Justice Department Partners with Honduras to Combat Employment Discrimination

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department and the government of Honduras announced a formal partnership today 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 the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (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.  Specifically, the MOU provides that:

•    OSC will train Honduran consular staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, participate in events organized by Honduran consulates to educate workers and employers, and distribute educational materials to the embassy and its consulates.
•    The embassy will establish a system for referring discrimination claims from the embassy and consulates to OSC.

“We must stand in solidarity with workers who face unlawful obstacles and discriminatory barriers when seeking employment,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “Our country thrives when all people have an equal opportunity to succeed.  Yet, all too often, we see employers refusing to hire work-authorized immigrants or requiring them to show unnecessary documentation to work.  This partnership will help educate workers about their rights and funnel complaints of discrimination to the Civil Rights Division.”

This agreement is particularly relevant given that Honduran nationals with temporary protected status (TPS) may encounter discrimination by employers based on their immigration status or national origin.  TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS under the INA.  During the TPS designation period, TPS beneficiaries are authorized to work in the United States.

In the last year, the department has also established formal partnerships with Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico to empower and educate work-authorized individuals from those nations. 

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  Among other things, this law prohibits citizenship, immigration status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process; retaliation and intimidation.  In addition to its enforcement work, OSC educates the public on its rights and responsibilities under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.  

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email or visit OSC’s website.

Updated December 7, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-1432