The Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act) provides U.S. citizens, permanent residents, asylum seekers, and refugees protection against employment discrimination based on their immigration status. The Act applies if an employer has more than four employees.
Discrimination under the Act occurs when an employer treats a person differently based on their immigration or citizenship status. The law requires Texas employers treat people equally when they announce a position, solicit applications, conduct interviews, make job offers, hire an individual, or terminate employment. Moreover, employers cannot retaliate against an employee if they file a claim of discrimination, participate in an investigation, or assert their rights under any anti-discrimination law. However, this rule does not apply to permanent residents who fail to file for naturalization within six months of eligibility.
If a prospective or current employee suffers any type of adverse employment action based on their immigration status, their employer may face liability. Some common forms of discrimination based on immigration status are when an employer only hires U.S. citizens, if an employer does not want to hire a person because of the paperwork involved in hiring a temporary resident, or demanding to see specific un-required documents.
The Act requires employers accept immigration documents that an employee presents, as long as they seem genuine. The I-9 form lists appropriate documents which include items such as passports, permanent resident cards, employment authorization cards, foreign passports with work endorsements or 1-551 stamps, driver’s licenses, military cards, tribal documents, school records, hospital records, social security cards, consular reports, and voter registration cards. Employers cannot request additional documents to re-verify an employee’s status.
Generally, an employer cannot ask employees if they are a U.S. citizen. However, employers may try to find out this information by notifying the applicant they will need to provide work authorization evidence. However, employers should inform all applicants of this requirement. Moreover, employers cannot only hire “Americans” unless the job requires it, and it is allowed by the law or government contract. Additionally, employers cannot reassign employees based on customer or employer preferences. It is also important to note that federal anti-discrimination laws provide undocumented workers with some protections as well.
Has Your Employer Discriminated Against You Because of Your Citizenship or Immigration Status?
If you have suffered discrimination because of your citizenship or immigration status, you should contact the employment attorneys at the Dallas law firm of Rob Wiley, P.C. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling complex employment discrimination lawsuits and know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. Employment-related lawsuits can be daunting and challenging and may raise a variety of unique issues. Thus, employees making claims of discrimination should have knowledgeable advocates who are prepared to put in the work necessary to obtain a favorable result. To learn more, contact our office today at 214-528-6500 to discuss your case with an attorney. You can also contact us through our online form.