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Discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status

Discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status occurs when an individual or group is treated unfairly or denied certain opportunities or benefits because of their status as an immigrant or non-citizen.

This type of discrimination typically occurs: (1) when hiring a new employee; (2) verifying an employee’s authorization to work on the Form I-9; (3)

electronically confirming identity and employment authorization with E-Verify, including in the E-Verify tentative non-confirmation (mismatch) process; or (4) terminating a person’s employment.

Below are some examples of unlawful immigration or citizenship status discrimination:

■  Your employer requests more documents than are required to verify employment authorization and identity.

■  You are a temporary resident with authorization to work in the US, but your employer questions the validity of that authorization and does not hire you.

■  Latinos, Middle Easterners, and Asians are asked for copies of their work authorization papers, but Caucasians are not asked to provide similar documents.

■  You show your employer your driver’s license and social security card, but your supervisor insists that you also show her a copy of your green card. When you point out that this is not required by law to fill out the I-9 form, you are told the company requires it.

Discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status is illegal under various state and federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

I feel like I was discriminated against at my job, but how do I prove that?

After you start your new job or after you get a new manager/supervisor, you have a “gut feeling” that you are or being discriminated against.  But how can you prove that?

Proving that you were actually and illegally discriminated against by your employer will not be easy.  That is because employers will try their best to hide the real reason why they are treating you differently.

In many of these situations where your gut tells you that something is off and you are being treated differently, you may very well be on your way to being terminated.  Before that happens, you may want to consider taking several steps to gather evidence. Here are some steps to consider:

Document Everything  Keep a detailed record of incidents related to the alleged discrimination. Include dates, times, locations, individuals involved, and any witnesses. Describe what happened, what was said or done, and how it made you feel. Be as specific as possible.

Save Communications  Preserve any relevant emails, text messages, voicemails, or other written communications that may provide evidence of discrimination, especially discriminatory comments or actions made by colleagues, supervisors, or management.

Gather Witnesses  If there were witnesses to the discriminatory incidents, talk to them and ask if they are willing to support your case. Their statements or testimony can be crucial in helping your potential case.

Follow Company Policies  Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies and procedures, especially those related to reporting discrimination or harassment. Follow these procedures as closely as possible so you will not be accused of deviating from them.

Contact HR  If you feel comfortable doing so, consider discussing the issue with your human resources department. They may be able to help resolve the matter internally. But make sure to document any conversations with HR.  If there is no documentation of your complaint, some employers will argue that you never complained and suggest that you are lying to support your case.

Maintain Professionalism  Throughout the process, maintain professionalism and avoid engaging in behavior that could hurt your case. Focus on gathering evidence and seeking a resolution through appropriate channels