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Immigrant Discrimination Laws

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What is “Immigrant Discrimination”?

Immigrant discrimination is a broad term that can cover many different topics.  It usually refers to employment discrimination against immigrants.  This usually involves denying an immigrant employment, or firing them on the suspicion that they are in the country illegally.  It can also refer to other forms of discrimination, such as housing discrimination.

Discrimination is prohibited by many different laws, including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  This makes it illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of their race or national origin when it comes to making major employment decisions.   

What Can Employers do to Prevent Discrimination?

While it is against the law for employers to knowingly hire illegal immigrants, they also cannot make decisions that are discriminatory against immigrants.  They also cannot enforce or maintain work policies that are discriminatory in nature. 

In order to avoid potential liability and lawsuits, employers should take steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace, like:

  • Evaluate all candidates for employment or benefits in a way that is consistent and fair (i.e., not asking for more proof from some individuals, but not others)
  • Terminate and/or replace supervisors who are found to have discriminated in the hiring process
  • Keep informed and updated regarding major changes in state and federal employment and immigration laws
  • Implement newer methods for checking employee documents, such as the E-Verify system

In addition, if a policy is found to be discriminatory in nature, that policy should be replaced with a newer one that conforms to anti-discrimination laws.  This may require a re-writing of the employee handbook and replacing information that may be posted about the workplace. 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Legal Questions Involving Immigrant Discrimination Laws?

Anti-discrimination policies should be followed very carefully in the workplace.  Discrimination violations can carry very serious legal consequences, especially with the recent changes in immigration laws in some states.  You may wish to contact an experienced lawyer if you need help with the immigration laws in your area.  Your attorney can provide you with advice regarding the policies in your workplace, and can represent you in court if a legal claim needs to be filed.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 08-15-2013 04:24 PM PDT

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