How Immigrants Can File An Employment Discrimination Charge — Part IV

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#MondayLawSeries

How To Enforce Your Right

The anti-discrimination protection policy is designed to protect immigrant employees from unfair employment practices.

Therefore, if you’re faced with any form of discrimination in your workplace, you should contact the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

OSC is a part of the US Justice Department that’s made up of attorneys and a multilingual staff ready to assist immigrants on any issue relating to discrimination in the workplace.

If you think you’ve been discriminated, you should contact the OSC or seek help from other immigrant agencies and community organization.

There are also grantees of the OSC across the country. These grantees help to educate immigrants about their rights.

Therefore, if you’re in need of any legal help, you should contact any of the OSC grantees.

You can click here to know more about the US Justice Department.

Typically, discrimination complaints in the country have to be filed within 180 days from the time of occurrence. And if the claim is confirmed, the victim is entitled to reinstatement and back pay. The employer may be charged with other monetary penalties.

Practical Ways Of Handling A Discriminatory Employer

  1. Adequately Educate Yourself On The Job

As an African immigrant, your priority is to know your right.

Understanding your rights on the job is one way of safeguarding yourself against discrimination.

You can get relevant information about your job from workers’ centers, legal aid offices in your local area, unions, churches, and community-based organizations.

  1. Get Help

Once you notice any discriminatory practice in your workplace, you should seek help immediately.

Your first step should be filing a complaint against the employer. And you must file the complaint within 180 days.

If you’re not sure of the next line of action, you should seek help from a legal aid office within your area or from a community organization.

Furthermore, you should approach an employment law expert to discuss the legal actions to take.

  1. Document All The Problem

Whether you think you’ve got a legal claim or not, you should always keep proper records.

For instance, if you’re refused employment due to the absence of a specific immigration document or because you look or sound foreign, you should take note of relevant information like the application date, name and address of the employer, and also have a copy of your application.

In situations where an announcement states ‘US citizens only’, you should keep a record of such announcements.

There are cases where immigrant employees are mistreated once they’re hired. In such situations, the employee should adequately document the problem.

For instance, if you notice any unfair treatment in your workplace due to your accent or ancestral origin, you’ve got to write down a detailed description of the incident — the place of occurrence, potential witnesses, and a detailed account of every single action.

  1. Keep Good Records

If an employer fired (or refused to hire) you, you can look for a new job. However, proper records of your job search should be kept.

Also, adequate records of any unemployment benefit you received during the period of job search should be kept.

When you finally land a new job, you should keep proper records of your salary (if possible make copies of your check or keep a record in your notebook/calendar).

Understanding your rights as an African immigrant is your first line of defense against employment discrimination.

When an employer discriminates against you in your workplace, you should seek for help, document all the problem, and keep proper records.

Have your employer discriminated against you before? Use the comment section to share your thoughts and experience with us.

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