For generations, many immigrants have made homes in California, and in recent years the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protected young people brought to the country without documentation. Although many of these people, known as dreamers, obtained work permits under the program, a decision from the Trump administration has endangered the future legality of their employment. Despite the shifting political landscape, dreamers with valid work permits continue to have legal protection from discrimination at work.
According to the Center for American Progress, about 700,000 dreamers hold jobs. Although their employers will violate the law by employing them once their work permits expire, immigration and employment attorneys caution employers against terminating the positions of these people while their documentation remains valid. Federal law prohibits employers from firing someone because of nationality or immigration status.
Hiring managers should also take care to avoid questioning people to find out if they are dreamers. Withholding a job offer because of a future change in immigration status represents discrimination. The website for the Department of Justice explains that employers should only consider current work authorization. Employers that randomly check workers’ documents could be engaging in discriminatory acts.
When a person feels harassed at work because of characteristics like race, religion, sex, age or national origin, a conversation with an attorney could reveal a course of action. An attorney could explain employee rights and evaluate the evidence to determine if the employer might have broken employment law. Illegal actions include passing people over for promotions, unjustified negative reviews and wrongful termination. To defend the client’s rights, an attorney could communicate the complaint to the employer before filing a claim with the EEOC.