42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2

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Discrimination Immigration status

This is the core section that prohibits discriminatory employment practices: it is illegal to hire, fire, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of an the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The section also provides for indirect discrimination where it is demonstrated that an employment practice has a “disparate impact” on a protected characteristic, and that such practice is not job related to the position in question and a matter of business necessity.

Notes

This passage from Title VII is one of the core vehicles for enforcing civil rights in the US. For migrant workers, the ‘national origin’ prong is of particular significance. Note, however, that the other prongs can be used to a protective effect if applicable in a fact pattern (ie, a female migrant is discriminated against on the basis of gender).

In general, the test relies upon demonstrating that the affected party has been treated worse than others who do not have the relevant protected characteristic.

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Section 2000e-2.Unlawful Employment Practices

(a) Employer practices

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

(b) Employment agency practices

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

(c) Labor organization practices

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for a labor organization-

(1) to exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify its membership or applicants for membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any individual, in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or would limit such employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee or as an applicant for employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(3) to cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual in violation of this section.

(d) Training programs

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for any employer, labor organization, or joint labor-­management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on­-the-­job training programs to discriminate against any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.

[…]

(m) Impermissible consideration of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment practices

Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, an unlawful employment practice is established when the complaining party demonstrates that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a motivating factor for any employment practice, even though other factors also motivated the practice.

[…]

Law / United States / Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 enacted broad rights protections designed to address racial discrimination in the US. Title VII specifically addresses workplace discrimination based on race and, critically for protection of migrants, national origin. It provides civil remedies including damages for such discrimination.

The federal agency responsible for enforcing Title VII is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Discrimination suits under the CRA can be brought by either the EECO itself (a government suit) or by private plaintiffs who have been wronged by discrimination.