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Office of Special Counsel: Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices Resources

Office of Special Counsel: Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices Resources

The following is taken from the US Department of Justice web site.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This law protects work-authorized individuals from employment discrimination based upon citizenship or immigration status and national origin, unfair documentary practices when verifying the employment eligibility of employees (I-9 and E-Verify), and retaliation. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file charges with OSC and be awarded back pay and reinstatement, among other remedies.

In addition to its enforcement work, OSC conducts an outreach and education program aimed at educating employers, potential victims of discrimination and the general public about their rights and responsibilities under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  OSC offers free webinars for employers and employees, and operates a toll-free employer hotline and a toll-free employee hotline.  To learn more about OSC, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.  Employees and their representatives may contact OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (TTY for hearing impaired 1-800-237-2515).  Employers and their representatives may contact OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (TTY for hearing impaired 1-800-237-2515).  Language interpretation is available on both hotlines.

Types of Illegal Activity

1) Citizenship or immigration status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee by employers with four or more employees.

Employers may not treat individuals differently based on citizenship or immigration status. U.S. citizens, recent permanent residents, temporary residents, asylees and refugees are protected from citizenship status discrimination. Exceptions: permanent residents who do not apply for naturalization within six months of eligibility are not protected from citizenship status discrimination. Citizenship status discrimination which is otherwise required to comply with law, regulation, executive order, or government contract is permissible by law.

2) National origin discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee, by employers with more than three and fewer than 15 employees.

Employers may not treat individuals differently because of their place of birth, country of origin, ancestry, native language, accent, or because they are perceived as looking or sounding "foreign." All U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and work authorized individuals are protected from national origin discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has jurisdiction over employers with 15 or more employees.

3) Unfair documentary practices related to verifying the employment eligibility of employees.

Employers may not request more or different documents than are required to verify employment eligibility, reject reasonably genuine-looking documents, or specify certain documents over others with the purpose or intent of discriminating on the basis of citizenship status or national origin. U.S. citizens and all work authorized individuals are protected from document abuse.

4) Retaliation/Intimidation.

Individuals who file charges with OSC, who cooperate with an OSC investigation, who contest action that may constitute unfair documentary practices or discrimination based upon citizenship or immigration status, or national origin, or who assert their rights under the INA's anti-discrimination provision are protected from intimidation, threats, coercion, and retaliation.

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