If you are authorized to work in the U.S., employers have a legal obligation to treat you just like any other worker. Unfortunately, as an immigrant, you may be familiar with discrimination.Workplace discrimination is just one form of injustice immigrants often face as they settle in the U.S.
Protections Against Workplace Discrimination Against Immigrants in Connecticut
Discrimination based on race, color, and national origin is illegal in the U.S. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers may not discriminate against immigrants as long as they have valid work authorizations. Permanent residents, asylees, refugees, and temporary residents can generally qualify for work authorizations.
Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protections against national origin discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces this act at the federal level.
At the state level, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against qualified employees for their race, color, religious creed, sexual orientation, or sex.
Working together, these three acts and federal laws prohibit employers from:
- Asking prospective employees to provide additional documents to prove their authorization to work
- Refuse to hire a candidate solely for their nationality
- Retaliating when an employee files a discrimination complaint
What to Do if You Are Experiencing Workplace Discrimination as an Immigrant
As an immigrant, you may worry that taking any action to fight against discrimination might impact your resident status. However, as a permanent or temporary resident, asylee, or refugee, you have a right to fair treatment in the workplace. Creating a discrimination claim and taking action against your employer can help prevent future acts of discrimination and ensure fair treatment moving forward.
Here are a few steps you can take after experiencing Connecticut workplace discrimination.
Consult an Attorney
As an immigrant, you may not know much about the U.S. legal system or feel confident navigating claims on your own. Consulting an immigration attorney is an excellent idea since they can help you learn about anti-discrimination laws and understand your rights.
Many immigration attorneys, including ours at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, offer consultations. You can meet with an attorney to discuss the discriminatory act and receive free guidance about your next steps.
Before you submit a claim, you will need evidence of discrimination. Your evidence should support that the event was unlawful, not just unfair.
Three types of evidence can support your Connecticut workplace discrimination case:
- Testimony: Firsthand information about the discriminatory event from someone who witnessed it
- Documentation: Emails, written documents, letters, files, and text messages showing the discriminatory event
- Statistical data: Information showing that an action specifically targeted you or your demographic
Your attorney can help you evaluate your case and gather any evidence that could prove helpful.
File a Discrimination Complaint
You can file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to hold an employer accountable for discriminatory behavior. Keep in mind that you must file the complaint within 300 days of the incident.
An intake worker will ask about the incident and discuss the complaint process with you. If they find that you have a valid complaint, they will schedule an appointment at the regional office to hear your complaint in person.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome would be happy to help you file a Connecticut workplace discrimination complaint. Just give us a call at 203-753-7300 to schedule your consultation.