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Immigration-related employment discrimination rule changes

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Immigrants in Maryland are often exposed to workplace discrimination in the form of unfair requests for documentation when they seek employment. In August 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed some new rules concerning unfair documentary practices that could make it more difficult for employers to discriminate against immigrants. The DOJ wants part of Section 274(a)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to be incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations.

The rule that the DOJ would like to be added to the CFR prohibits employers from practicing unfair documentary practices while recruiting and hiring employees. Under the rule, an employer may be accused of employment discrimination if it is found guilty of treating an individual differently because of the employee's citizenship status or national origin. Discriminatory intent could be found regardless of an employer's reasons for doing so.

The proposed rule changes would also affect how the DOJ's Office of Special Counsel is allowed to investigate allegations of immigration-related employment discrimination. If the rules are implemented, the statute of limitations for filing immigration-related employment discrimination claims will be increased from 180 days to five years. The rule changes would allow claims to be filed against employers for immigration-related discrimination that occurs at any point in the employment process.

An immigrant who has been subjected to unfair practices while looking for a job or after being hired may want to talk to an attorney. An attorney may be able to look into what happened and determine whether the employer violated anyfederal laws. If people are unable to work in the U.S. because they do not have an employment visa, an attorney may be able to determine what their options are.

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