When employers allow unfair treatment based on citizenship or immigration status to occur, they engage in unlawful discrimination. Immigration status discrimination can harm the well-being of employees and their families, resulting in lost earnings, career stagnation and emotional distress.
If you have encountered immigration status discrimination in the workplace, you have options such as filing a complaint or taking legal action.
Workplace discrimination against immigrants
Multiple local, state and national regulations prohibit discrimination based on real or perceived differences in immigration status, including the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. For example, it is not legal for employers to provide unequal working conditions or compensation for immigrant workers. Furthermore, workplaces that refuse to hire immigrant workers with legal authorization to work in the United States are discriminatory. Employers who condone or fail to prevent bigoted comments based on immigration or citizenship status also engage in discrimination.
Filing complaints and taking legal action
If you encounter unfavorable treatment in the workplace due to prejudice against immigrants, you can file a complaint with state or federal agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Washington State Human Rights Commission. Documenting discriminatory behavior and any actions you take to address the problem can help your case. Once you report discrimination, the agency you contacted investigates your workplace. Often these investigations result in mediation to resolve any disputes, but sometimes taking your case to court is the appropriate option.
Immigrant employees have the right to make a living free of bigotry and unequal treatment. You can take action to seek justice if you experience immigration status discrimination in the workplace.