How are Immigrants Protected from Discrimination?

The debate of immigration in the US heats up as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents arrest love ones across the country; the government carries out raids of 7-Elevens (in 98 locations in 17 states); and prominent immigrant activists are taken into custody.

It is everywhere in the news. Last week, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) agency detained a woman after boarding a Greyhound bus en route to Miami from Orlando. Initially, the bus driver told passengers “‘security’ was coming onto the bus for a routine inspection. Instead, Customs and Border Patrol agents entered and began demanding that the passengers demonstrate proof of citizenship,” and ask passengers for their legal documents to prove their citizenship. A video appears to show a border agent ask a woman the location of her belongings before taking her off the bus.  (https://twitter.com/FLImmigrant)

As the Trump administration’s raids to round up immigrants illegally in the U.S., so does hostility to all immigrants and individuals labeled as immigrants. Anyone can potentially be subject to unlawful discrimination, it does not matter if a person is illegal or legally in the US, has lived in the US for generations, or simply looks “different.” Consequently, as immigration tensions increase, it is important to emphasize that individuals are protected in the workplace from discriminatory comments or conduct regarding their national origin, or perceived national origin.

National origin discrimination or citizenship discrimination is also known as migration status discrimination. National origin discrimination violates federal, New York State, and New York City laws. This means that it is illegal for employers to base decisions in relation to employment and employees on citizenship.

National origin discrimination is a form of ethnic discrimination that involves treating applicants or employees unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background. National origin discrimination may even apply even if they are not from the particular country the discriminating employee thinks they are from. Additionally, national origin discrimination may also involve treating people unfavorably because they are married to or associated with a person of a certain national origin, or even occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same national origin.

 

Federal Immigration Laws

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Perhaps you are familiar with the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects employees from discrimination in the workplace because of their sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. Title VII generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including government employers. Moreover, other federal protections may also apply like the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) and the Immigration Reform and Control Act (/national-origin-discrimination/).

Harassment of a person because of his/her citizenship is illegal. Moreover, it is unlawful to retaliate against individuals for asserting their rights under Federal law, or for filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), or assisting in an investigation or proceeding under IRCA.

 

New York State and New York City Laws

Furthermore, as mentioned, there are state discrimination laws that further protect employees from unlawful discrimination. Both the state of New York and New York City law applies to employers with 4 or more employees and offers broader protection. Both laws also bar retaliation against employees for asserting their rights under the statute.

In the state of New York, it is unlawful to discriminate against an applicant or employee due to citizenship status and national origin. The New York City Human Rights Law is a New York City statute that prohibits employment discrimination based on citizenship status, alienage, and national origin. New York State Human Rights Law is the New York State statute that provides substantially similarly protections for New Yorkers who live outside of the NYC proper. Both the state of New York and New York City law applies to employers with 4 or more employees and offers broader protection.

The New York City discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating claims of national origin discrimination. Working closely with our Philadelphia discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys, the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC has recovered hundreds of thousands for our clients who were the victims of discrimination. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your national origin, please give our experienced attorneys a call, toll-free, at 1877 4NYLAWS, for your free consultation.