Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Justice Department Partners with Mexico to Combat Employment Discrimination

The Justice Department and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States established 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 Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the embassy and its consulates, and the division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (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.  Specifically, the MOU provides that:

  • OSC will train Mexican consular staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, participate in events organized by Mexican 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.

“The Mexican government plays a vital role in helping the Justice Department ensure workers know about their rights and the protections the law provides,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “Mexico has taken a leading role in Labor Rights Week, ensuring that workers in Mexico and throughout the world know about their rights in the workplace and where to access help and support.  I thank our Mexican counterparts for their collaborative partnership in our shared mission to empower workers and combat discrimination.”

In the last year, the department has also established formal partnerships with Ecuador and El Salvador 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 osccrt@usdoj.gov; or visit OSC’s website.

Mexico MOU

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 1, 2016