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DOJ finalizes anti-discrimination employment law

New York residents may be interested to hear about a rule aimed at enforcing provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. These provisions prohibit employers from rejecting valid evidence that a worker is allowed to seek employment in the United States. It also prohibits covered employers from requesting different or additional documents than those already required.

To enforce these provisions, a special counsel will be appointed for a four-year term subject to the approval of the Senate. The counsel will have the ability to investigate claims and can take legal action on his or her own if there is reason to do so. The new rule also defines harassment as any action that treats a worker different than others based on national origin or citizenship status.

Harassment may take place whether it is done with hostility or not. It also defines protected individuals as United States citizens or nationals as well as permanent residents who have filed for naturalization within six months of becoming eligible. Refugees, asylees and others who have been temporarily admitted into the country are also protected by anti-discrimination statutes.

Those who believe that they have been victims of discrimination in the workplace may wish to talk with an attorney. An attorney may be able to collect evidence of such discrimination including requests made in writing or by email for additional evidence of citizenship prior to hiring or onboarding. An individual may also be the victim of discrimination if he or she is retaliated against because of his or her citizenship status. If discrimination can be proven, a worker may be entitled to financial compensation or other relief.

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