Many foreign nationals that live in the Houston area have the right to work in the United States. However, some of them are discriminated against in the employment process because employers do not want to hire workers from foreign countries. To protect foreign nationals from this, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has published a final rule on anti-discrimination policies in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The national origin workplace discrimination rule becomes effective on Jan. 18 of this year. It includes a provision that prohibits employers from requesting extra or different personal identification documents from foreign nationals when the requests are made with the intent to discriminate. Employers are also prohibited from rejecting valid personal identification documents from foreign nationals.

The DOJ has renamed the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Practices to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section. Within that office there will be a Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices that is responsible for investigating allegations of foreign national discrimination. The Special Counsel is also responsible for pursuing litigation against employers in order to enforce employment discrimination laws.

People could find that they are being discriminated against based on their national origin during the interview process as well as once they have been hired. If an employer is wrong in its assumption about where a worker is originally from, the employer can still be found guilty of national origin discrimination. This type of employment discrimination can result in significant penalties and sanctions if it can be proven.