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Updates to the foreign worker anti-discrimination law

Protection has increased for foreign national workers who are employed in New York. The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division made changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) found at 8 U.S.C. 1324(b). Although this act provides protection for international workers and employers, workers were still vulnerable to being overly scrutinized. The identification screening process involves providing proof of authorized I-9s and E-verification.

The changes to the INA include the division's new name, which is the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section. This division used to be called the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Practices. Under the administration of The Special Counsel, allegations of discrimination regarding immigrant workers are reviewed. If the allegations are valid, the Special Counsel can initiate the legal proceedings to summon administrative law judges and enforce charges against the defendants.

The timeframe for filing discrimination charges is now 180 days. After a complaint is filed, Special Counsel must respond to the complainant within 10 days. Afterward, the complainant must notify an administrative law judge about the complaint. If not, the Special Counsel is required to submit notification about the complaint to a judge within 120 days while conducting an investigation. The ruling also specifies who is protected by the anti-discrimination law. These individuals include natural born citizens, temporary and permanent residents, refugees, asylees, and those seeking citizenship. The last update to the law clarifies the identification of the Immigrant and Employee Rights' Section and the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the Department of Homeland Security.

Discrimination can occur when foreign workers are required to present unauthorized identification documents. When workers are purposely discriminated against based on alleged insufficient work documents, a lawsuit may be filed by a workplace discrimination attorney. Employers should stay abreast of this rule's terminology in order to reduce worker discrimination liabilities.

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