According to recent employment news reports, retailer Macy’s has agreed to settle employment discrimination charges in order to avoid trial. The allegations against the department store include assertions that it discriminated against non-U.S. citizens who were authorized to work. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers cannot demand that lawful permanent residents show their residency cards when they start working. Rather, showing a social security card or driver’s license is sufficient.
In this instance, a worker was hired by the store, but then her start date was delayed due to the human resources manager requiring that she show unexpired permanent residency documents. Pursuant to the settlement, the woman received back pay and damages. In a statement, the Justice Department noted, “All employers should take care not to impose unlawful burdens on employees because of their citizenship or immigration status.”
The federal government protects workers from discrimination due to national origin and immigration status. In addition to INA, Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees – whether in hiring, firing, or promoting, based on an individual’s race or national origin. Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers provide the same protections to all workers (minimum wage and overtime compensation for non-exempt employees) regardless of immigration status.