The Link Between Citizenship and National Origin Discrimination | Mann & Elias
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The Link Between Citizenship and National Origin Discrimination

Dedicated Defense Attorneys Against Discrimination in Los Angeles

Taking on employment opportunities in the U.S. can offer both unique experiences and leverage in the job market. But not everyone understands the rules and regulations regarding citizenship or the impact of national origin discrimination.

This type of workplace bias can occur regardless of your status – requiring help from a labor attorney for employees at Mann & Elias. We’ve helped clients across Los Angeles recover compensation from their employer for discriminatory preferential treatment. To better understand this legal concern, we provide insight below.

Immigration Reform and Control Act

There was more leniency toward companies hiring talent abroad before the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Companies often accepted undocumented workers without question. After the legislation passed, it became illegal for employers to:

1) Hire without employment verification and

2) Discriminate against someone’s citizenship and immigration status

The law also prohibits companies from only hiring American workers or lawful permanent residents – unless it is a regulated mandate or part of a government contract, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you were left without a job because of your citizenship status, you deserve to hold the employer accountable.

Employers Cannot Take Preference Over Temporary Visa Holders

Employers cannot recruit, hire, withhold, or terminate U.S. employees to replace them with temporary visa holders. For a job opportunity to be available internationally, petitioning employers must complete the permanent labor certification (PERM) process.

PERM guarantees companies don’t use the immigration system to keep jobs from U.S. workers. Part of getting approved by the Department of Labor (DOL) is establishing that no one was interested in the role offered.

On occasion, employers might also find a way to fire and immediately replace workers with a preferred candidate.

Examples of Biased/Discriminatory Behavior

  • The employer does not consider you for hire although you are qualified and available
  • You get fired and replaced by a temporary visa worker immediately
  • Job postings hint at a preference for temporary visa holders (ex. H-1B preferred)

Most recently, Facebook settled a discrimination lawsuit with the Department of Justice (DOJ) over claims that the social networking service refused to hire U.S. workers. They set aside jobs for temporary visa holders by avoiding posting job listings online and falsifying the PERM process. Now the company is expected to pay $14 million in restitution to the DOJ and affected candidates.

Am I Being Discriminated Against Because Of My National Origin?

During the interview or onboarding process, you might be wondering: what information can an employer ask for about national origin? Unfortunately, no federal laws prevent them from asking you about your national origin or requesting additional documentation of your immigration history.

In most cases, this information helps the company make the decisions necessary to ensure that they comply with government laws. It is typically requested when candidates need sponsorship in the future for an H-1B visa, have Optional Practical Training (OPT), or are working in STEM fields and require an extension later. According to the EEOC, they might also need it to report your ethnicity accurately.

There’s no right way for employers to handle the process while they’re considering your application. If you feel that aspects of your ancestry, culture, language, or birthplace are getting used against you, we recommend seeking an ethnicity discrimination lawyer for the workplace. That is unfair to you.

How To Contact The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER)

If you feel you were denied a work opportunity or experienced national origin discrimination, it’s best to consult with an employment lawyer before reaching out to the IER. This sector of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is responsible for overseeing companies enforce anti-discrimination policies.

To reach out to the IER, you can contact 1-(800)-255-7688 or visit

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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