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DOJ updates and clarifies immigrant discrimination rules

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has published final rules defining protected individuals and unfair practices during hiring. This language adds clarity to laws that the federal government has established to protect foreign nationals working in California and across the country.

People protected by the rules include citizens or nationals of the United States and lawful permanent residents. The regulations also apply to people allowed temporary residence in the country. For example, workers granted entry for special agricultural programs would have workplace protections from discrimination. People given the status of refugees or in the country on asylum should also expect fair treatment in the workplace.

The rules pay particular attention to the hiring process when discrimination can occur. Some employers reject documentation or continually demand more of it about a person's right to be in the country. Hiring consists of all employer activities related to recruitment, selection and onboarding. After being hired, acts of intimidation or retaliation against protected individuals could also be classified as discrimination.

A person who thinks that an employer has broken workplace discrimination laws could discuss the situation with an employment law attorney. National origin discrimination has been interpreted as being a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and after a review of all of the circumstances the attorney might suggest filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that oversees these types of matters. In some circumstances the EEOC will, after investigation, file a lawsuit on the victim's behalf.

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