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Sterling Employment Law

As a legal immigrant, am I safe from workplace discrimination?

To be clear, you may not exactly "be safe from" workplace discrimination, but you do have federal protections against discrimination in the workplace. What this means is that while you certainly have a right to be free of discrimination, it could still happen to you in your workplace. Further, if someone – a boss or a co-worker – discriminates against you because of your immigration status, the law can help you find a remedy.

Like other workers in the nation, you have the right to work in an environment that is free of harassment, hostility and discrimination. The government puts a fine point on these rights by outlining what is not permissible in the workplace. The following list contains a few examples of illegal behaviors against immigrant workers in Detroit and elsewhere in the U.S.

  • Demanding that workers always speak English even when it is unnecessary for their job
  • Treating employees differently because they speak with a foreign accent
  • Engaging in or allowing harassment (e.g. ethnic slurs)
  • Imposing employment requirements that may result in screening out immigrants
  • Refusing to hire due to physical appearance (e.g. color of the skin)
  • Making fun of or disallowing immigrant customs
  • Harassing or retaliating because an immigrant seeks a discrimination claim

It can be tough to work in America as an immigrant. However, it is your legal right to do so and to be free of workplace discrimination. Please consider reaching out to a lawyer if you are the victim of discrimination. This is the best way to make sure your federal rights and protections remain in place even if you choose to seek a legal remedy.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Immigrants' Employment Rights Under Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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