To eliminate employment discrimination in your workplace, you need to understand what it is and how to avoid it. Use these important answers to common questions related to discrimination against immigrants in the workplace.
1. Is an English-only policy discrimination?
The English-only policy can be tricky, but it is legal in certain situations. If you can prove that your business relies on communication in English, you may be able to justify an English-only policy for certain situations. However, a blanket policy may count as discrimination. For example, if you run an English news radio station, it may be inappropriate to speak in another language on air. On the other hand, speaking another language off-air will not inhibit business. As such, the radio station owner may implement an English-only policy on air, but not company-wide.
2. What legislation sets anti-discrimination laws related to immigrants?
The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an important piece of legislation that among other things prohibits discrimination based on national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC enforces the Act’s regulations for business with 15 employees or more.
3. Can you make a priority for U.S. citizens?
No, you cannot make hiring U.S. citizens a priority, as long as the applicants have equally valid work authorizations. Non-citizens with legal work authorization may be
- Asylum seekers
- Temporary residents
- Permanent residents
These protections are afforded under the Immigration and Nationality Act or INA.
4. Can you legally ask for proof of a new hire’s eligibility to work in the United States?
Yes, you can legally ask for proof of work eligibility. In fact, you are required to ask for such documentation for all new hires.
5. Can you ask for extra documentation from prospective employees?
No, you may not ask for extra documentation from prospective employees. If you plan on hiring an immigrant and are concerned about the proper identification documents, consult with the INA’s guidelines. You are strictly limited to these documents when asking for an employee’s proof of work eligibility.
6. Is the I-9 form required for all job applicants?
First, the I-9 form is an Employment Eligibility Verification form, and you must fill one out for each new employee. However, you are only required to fill out these forms for the individuals you hire, not all applicants.
7. Can you fire an employee who doesn’t provide proper work documentation within three days of employment?
Yes, you can fire employees if they fail to provide the right documentation within three days. The exception is if the individual had his or her documents lost, stolen or destroyed. In this case, the individual can provide you with a receipt for replacement documents. Afterwards, the employee has 90 days to provide the documents. This is a standard practices for all eligible employees regardless of citizenship status.
8. Can you punish or retaliate against employees who bring claims of discrimination?
As with many other sections of employment law, you as an employer are prohibited from retaliating or otherwise punishing employees who file discrimination claims or make complaints. Even if the charges are proved unsubstantiated, you may open your company up for a lawsuit if you punish an employee for exercising rights afforded to him or her.
9. What happens if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement discovers your employee isn’t eligible for work?
If you filed your I-9 for correctly and determined the employee’s document were authentic, you are not liable for any legal violations. If you had knowledge of the individual’s work ineligibility, you may be subject to litigation.
10. How can you make sure the prospective employee’s documents are real?
Simply examine the documents and check the expiration dates. You cannot accept photocopies, but you can accept certified copies of birth certificates.
As you make your company policies, keep these law and regulations in mind. Do your best to create a welcoming environment for everyone and you’ll be on the right track.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.