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Friday, December 4, 2015

Justice Department Partners with Republic of Ecuador to Combat Employment Discrimination

Today, 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 the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (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.  Specifically, the MOU provides that:

• OSC will help train Ecuadorean consular staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, participate in events organized by Ecuadorean 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 signing of today’s historic MOU marks a critical stride of progress in the dynamic partnership between our countries,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “Together, we will continue to advance our shared commitment to empowering workers, combating unlawful discrimination and protecting the rights of our people.”

“These agreements are vital to ensure that the Ecuadorian community in the United States is informed of its rights and the different resources that the Department of Justice provides through its offices and phone support lines,” said Ambassador Borja Cevallos.  “Our goal is to make sure that the rights of Ecuadorian immigrants are respected.”

Today’s agreement builds on the joint outreach to immigrant communities already underway between OSC and Ecuador’s embassy and consulates.

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  Among other things, this law prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and or 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 rights and responsibilities under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.  More information on OSC is available at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.

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 at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/webinars.php; email osccrt@usdoj.gov; or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc

Ecuador MOU

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
Updated August 22, 2016