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Understanding employment rights for immigrants

Employees in New York and other states across the nation are afforded certain rights in the workplace. This is true regardless of their status in the country. When immigrants travel to the United States to work for a period of time, federal law protects them from employment discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, enforces these laws

The EEOC enforces laws that prohibit employment discrimination and harassment that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and physical and mental disability. Employers with 15 or more employees must obey these laws, including with respect to immigrants.

Under Title VII, employees are protected from employment discrimination on the basis of his or her national origin. This form of discrimination could occur in various situations. This could be due to the employee's ancestor's place of birth. This also includes discrimination based on his or her looks, customs or language. This could also occur when an employee is based on association with persons of a different national origin group.

Other examples include employment practices that have an adverse effect on particular national origin groups, harassment based on national origin, discrimination based on accent, rules in the workplace that require employees to speak only English and discrimination based on appearance. Finally, the Immigration and Nationality Act expressly prohibits discrimination based on citizenship.

If employee, immigrant or citizen, believes that he or she is a victim of employment discrimination, that person may claim his or her employee rights have been violated. An employee could file a claim against an employer, helping them address the matter and even collect compensation for damages suffered.

Source:, "Immigrants' Employment Rights Under Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws," accessed April 30, 2017

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