Citizenship refers to being a participating member of a political community by meeting the legal requirements of that particular state. A person can become a citizen of the United States by birth, naturalization, being dependent on military members, acquiring citizenship, or applying for dual citizenship. A citizen is expected to observe the country’s laws and in return, he or she is entitled to acquire certain rights and privileges of the nation. However, a person can be denied his or her rights and privileges as a citizen due to reasons such as ethnicity, race, color, and this is referred to as Citizenship Status Discrimination. Non-American descendants are considered to be US citizens when they have acquired citizenship either permanent or temporary, aliens who have work authorization permits, international students, refugees, and asylums. However, the law provides an exception where an individual fails to apply for naturalization within six months since he or she became eligible to apply or has applied and not approved within two years. In this case, this paper explores various unfair practices on an individual regarding citizenship or an individual’s place of origin during employment.
Citizenship Status Discrimination
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) considers against the law for an employer with at least four employees to discriminate against workers while recruiting or dismissing them based on their citizenship status. The International Labor Law describes discrimination against an employee as morally deplorable and a crime punishable by the court of law. First of all, it is important to get a clear understanding of discrimination against an employee based on his or her citizenship. The Office of Special Counsel for immigration (OCS) categorizes discrimination under the anti-discrimination provision of The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1324b: into four discriminatory conducts. They include discrimination with respect to recruiting and hiring where an employer demands a fee from the potential employee. The second conduct involves an unfair documentation process when verifying employment eligibility for employees. The third one is where an employer intimidates, threatens, retaliates, or coerces an employee. The last category of misconduct occurs when an employer treats an individual differently because of their place of origin or ancestry. Also, an employer can discriminate against an employee by asking questions that are not related to the job requirement. Therefore, if an employer violates any of the four employment practices, then he or she can be sued for Citizenship Status Discrimination.
Case studies involving citizenship discrimination
The United States Department of Labor stipulates that fair employment involves an employer observing safety and health standards, meeting wages and working hours requirements, complying with benefits and compensations, proper working conditions, equal opportunities during employment, and work authorization for non-US citizens. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), in March 2011 the manager of American Education and Travel Services Inc. (AETS) in Antioch, California was charged with Citizenship Status Discrimination. The complaint was allegedly denied a counselor position because he was not a native English speaker. The department of Equal Employment Opportunity argued that the AETS employer violated the INA provision and he should be held accountable for the discrimination act. The judgment passed that AETS would pay 10,000 US dollars as compensation for damages caused through discrimination. The assistant attorney general for Civil Rights Division Mr. Thomas Perez said that federal law protects authorized workers from being discriminated against based on unlawful citizenship requirements and he was referring to this case.
Similarly, Wei Cho, Anita, and Armando had legal work authorization documents to work in the United States. We won a “green card” back in her native country, China; Armando attained US citizenship by naturalization five years ago while Anita is a U.S citizen by both birth and naturalization. The three ladies applied for jobs at Raymond’s information technology company, but to their surprise, they met a sign at the reception which read “U.S. Citizens Only”. After perusing their papers, Raymond only hired Anita and told Armando that he could not verify whether she was a U.S citizen. Surprisingly, Wei was not given any explanation for why she was not hired.
In this case, Raymond practiced various discriminatory conduct against the two ladies who were looking for a job. To start with, he placed a poster that displays a message saying “U.S Citizens Only” and he does not give reasons for excluding the others. Raymond breaches the anti-discrimination provision which states that an employer should not treat employees differently and that he or she is required to offer equal opportunities. Secondly, he gives false document verification information when he says that he cannot verify Armando’s citizenship. Armando is a U.S citizen by acquiring citizenship through naturalization; in addition, she has legal work authorization document’s meaning she is legally eligible for employment. Finally, Raymond discriminates against Wei on the basis of her place of origin or ancestry. Despite the fact the Wei has worn a “green card” which means she is legally a US citizen; Raymond does not even consider her for the job. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, Raymond should be charged for discriminating against Wei because she is Chinese and not American and that displays an act of racism.
On the other hand, Uche an African businessman wanted to venture into the American market and start a branch of his own company in the United States. After Uche identified a perfect market location for his business, he proceeded to the local government to obtain legal documents for his company. Upon arrival, Uche was made to wait for several hours before he got served, but unfortunately, he was turned back by the officer citing that he had not fully completed the immigration process. Uche decided to seek intervention from the immigration department which became instrumental and he was awarded the documents to commence his business. A few weeks later, Uche announced job vacancies from the topmost management to the junior subordinates and casual laborers. The OCS officers received numerous complaints about the employment process and they decide to launch investigations. The report tabled by the OCS shown that all of the topmost management positions were occupied by people with African native. During the recruitment, Uche gave first priority to African Americans and people associated with the black race despite their qualifications. Secondly, the report showed that Uche’s limited café only served food to individuals with African descendants and their salaries were way too high compared to the white natives who held similar work positions. Thirdly, Uche’s organization required that successful candidates obtain job training for two weeks at a fee of 500 US dollars per week. Also, the company was not installed with proper and adequate safety and health equipment. Despite the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which requires employees to be covered against health hazards, Uche had not yet complied with the law.
Uche committed several accounts of discriminatory conduct by conducting a bias recruitment process, salary disparity, and unfair treatment. After clear investigations, it was found out that Uche was on a revenge mission after he was discriminated against while obtaining his business documents. Although the local government officer discriminated against Uche, that did not substantiate his actions. He treated non-African native employees unfairly and awarded them a lower wage compared to African Americans. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any employer from asking for pay or fringe benefits during job training as Uche’s company was reportedly doing. In addition, Uche’s company did not comply with the OSHA regulations pertaining to employee protection against health and work hazards. The OCS agents charged Mr. Uche for citizen status discrimination and violating employees’ rights by denying them habitable working conditions.
The Office Of Special Counsel For Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices also discourages bias pre and post-hire questions. For example, a young Black man who acted in the position of the customer cares service in an organization applied for promotion together with his colleagues. Later on, he learned that all his colleagues had been promoted apart from him and he decided to confront the manager for an explanation. To his surprise, the manager turned to him with a hoard of questions about his age, race, his views concerning work, and other personal questions. Then the manager told the young man that his approach was too urban and due to his age he could not handle the clients. In spite of the young man’s experience and personal zeal about the job, he was denied a promotion, and to add on he was bombarded with discriminatory questions. OCS discourages discrimination in employment because of age and stereotypes about youth experience.
Citizenship Status Discrimination is an existing problem that has seen aliens being ill-treated and their rights being violated. The employer has no right at all to treat an individual differently based on his or her place of origin, color, or race. When hiring employees, an employer is supposed to offer equal opportunities to all applicants. Similarly, an employer should not fire an employee because of citizenship status. Also, an employee is entitled to proper treatment by the employer and should press charges against any employer who violates these rights. In addition to physical characteristics, an employee is protected against discrimination of language, manner of speech, dress code, diet, beliefs and practices, and leisure preferences. Under any circumstances, an employer should not fail to offer employment to an individual based on the above-mentioned characteristic. The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) offers protection to all residents against citizenship discrimination. This includes, even in the place of worship, recreation centers, shopping area, and public facilities. OSC prohibits any employer from overstepping regulations set based on discrimination occurrences and its presses charges on behalf of the victim. In the presence of OCS, the ethnic, minority, non-US citizens receive equitable treatment by the US employers as stipulated in the constitution. Therefore, citizenship status discrimination is a voice that should be avoided by all employers and OSC encourages all the victims to seek help if they have experienced discrimination.
Justice Department Resolves Citizenship Status Discrimination Charge Against California Employer. Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc, 2011. ProQuest. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Kirmanolu, Hasan, and Cem Baslevent. “Life Satisfaction of Ethnic Minority Members: An Examination of Interactions with Immigration, Discrimination, and Citizenship.” Social Indicators Research 116.1 (2014): 173-84. ProQuest. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.