A part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, found at 8 U.S.C. section 1324b, prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on their citizenship or immigration status, or their national origin, during the hiring, firing, recruiting, Form I-9, or E-Verify processes.  Employers should develop, implement, and enforce nondiscrimination policies, practices, and procedures, and ensure that all employees (and their authorized representatives, such as those completing Form I-9 or creating E-Verify cases on their behalf) understand the rules. Employers should also provide them with adequate training on employer responsibilities and worker rights.

An employer cannot discriminate when:

  • Announcing a job;
  • Taking applications;
  • Performing interviews;
  • Making job offers;
  • Verifying an individual’s authorization to work;
  • Hiring an individual; or
  • Terminating an individual’s employment.

Employers also cannot retaliate against a person who:

  • Files a charge of discrimination with the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER);
  • Participates in an investigation or prosecution of a discrimination complaint; or
  • Asserts their rights or the rights of another person under anti-discrimination laws.

IER investigates charges of employment discrimination related to an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also investigates employment discrimination based on national origin, in addition to other protected bases under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. IER generally investigates national origin claims against employers with four to 14 employees, and EEOC generally investigates national origin claims against employers with 15 or more employees.

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