We seldom write about discrimination law if it is not related to statutes such as Title VII, the ADEA or the ADA, for no other reason than that’s where most claims and lawsuits arise, and that’s where the cutting edge of discrimination law seems to be found. But not always.
There are anti-discrimination provisions found in other statutes, and last week the US Justice Department announced that it had filed an anti-discrimination suit against a staffing company in Jersey City, N.J. which specializes in information technology, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). The suit alleges that the company fired its receptionist/recruiter after she opposed the company’s alleged practice of recruiting and preferring noncitizens with temporary work visas over Americans citizens and lawful permanent residents.
The relevant provision of the INA prohibits “citizenship status discrimination” and “national origin discrimination” against citizens (and certain others), and as with Title VII and other such laws, prohibits retaliation against employees who oppose a practice that is illegal under the INA, or who attempt to assert rights under that statute. The Civil Right’s Division of the Justice Department, through its Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is charged with enforcing these provisions of the INA
Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, stated that “Employers cannot punish employees who try to do the right thing and take reasonable measures to shed light on a practice they believe may be discriminatory. Employers must ensure that their practices conform to the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and retaliation will not be tolerated.”