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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 30, 2016

Justice Department Partners with Republic of El Salvador to Combat Employment Discrimination

The Justice Department and the Republic of El Salvador 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 Salvadoran Ambassador Claudia Canjura De Centeno 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 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.  Specifically, the MOU provides that:

  • OSC will train Salvadoran consular staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, participate in events organized by Salvadoran 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 welcome our newest partner to help the Civil Rights Division combat unlawful discrimination against workers employed in the United States and we value the ability to work together to achieve this important goal,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “We hope that formalizing our partnership with El Salvador will send a clear message to workers that we are eager to assist them.”

Today’s agreement is particularly useful due to the large number of Salvadoran nationals with temporary protected status (TPS), who are eligible to live and work in the United States, but who sometimes encounter discrimination by employers either 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.

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  Among other things, this law prohibits citizenship 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 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.   

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Labor & Employment
Press Release Number: 
16-769
Updated April 27, 2017