Is Discrimination Based on Citizenship Illegal? - Bantle & Levy LLP



Is Discrimination Based on Citizenship Illegal?

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the country and has one of the highest immigrant populations. While many celebrate this cultural mosaic, there are still many cases of discrimination based on someone’s national origin, especially related to employment. Across the United States, it is illegal to discriminate based on an employee’s national origin. This includes their actual or perceived national origin. However, many might be wondering if citizenship status is also a protected characteristic.

It’s estimated that over one million people immigrate to the United States each year. What rights do you have in the workplace regarding citizenship discrimination? The employment discrimination attorneys of Bantle & Levy can help you learn more.

What is Citizenship Discrimination?

Citizenship discrimination occurs when an employee is treated less favorably than others due to their actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. There are various laws that help protect employees from this type of discrimination.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their real or perceived national origin. This includes not only their actual or perceived place of birth or country of origin, but also their ancestry, native language, accent, or because someone believes they look or sound “foreign.” Employees are protected from national origin discrimination regardless of their actual national origin. Due to the similarities, some employees experiencing citizenship discrimination may also be experiencing national origin discrimination.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

The IRCA makes it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their citizenship or immigration status for employers with at least four employees. This includes discriminating against employees when hiring, verifying an employee’s authorization to work on the Form I-9, electronically confirming identity and employment authorization with E-Verify, or terminating an employee. U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees, and recent lawful permanent residents are protected from this type of discrimination. However, lawful permanent residents who do not apply for naturalization within six months of eligibility are not protected from citizenship discrimination. In some cases, employers may also be permitted to restrict hiring only U.S. citizens for a position.

New York State and City Laws

Employees in New York City have additional laws that protect them from discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status. Under New York State Human Rights Law, discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status is illegal. New York City Human Rights Law also protects employees from being discriminated against due to their immigration status.

Contact Our NYC Employment Discrimination Attorneys Today

America is made up of many unique cultures that should be treasured and respected. Unfortunately, many know that this is often not the case. Many employees may be treated unfairly at work due to where their family comes from or where others assume they did. This should never happen, and at Bantle & Levy, we stand up for those who have faced illegal discrimination.

Don’t wait to contact an employment discrimination attorney today.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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