How the EEOC Protects the Rights of Immigrants—and What Employers Should Know

As a business owner or manager, it’s often your responsibility to understand the laws that protect both your business and your employees. Familiarity with how federal and state discrimination laws apply in the workplace can ensure that your company is appropriately conducting business and that members of your staff feel safe and comfortable on the job. In fact, each of your employees has specific rights, which not only need to be understood, but also upheld.


The rights of workers in the United States are not limited to U.S. citizens alone. Laws are in place to look out for the wellbeing of U.S. immigrants, as well. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) exists to safeguard the rights of United States immigrants against discrimination and mistreatment at their place of employment.

As an employer, it is essential that you are knowledgeable of the parameters of the EEOC and that your business is compliant. The EEOC is a federal agency, which means that its policies reflect the legal standards nationwide. This agency is dedicated to making sure that employers are not unfairly conducting business when it comes to the rights of immigrant employees, or even applicants to an open employment position.


If an employee at a business feels as though they are being discriminated against or that their rights have been violated, they may contact the EEOC and file a complaint. When a complaint is submitted, the government will look into the claim and investigate the business to see if a violation of the law occurred.

There are several types of discrimination that can be processed through a complaint with the EEOC, including discriminatory activity based on a person’s place of birth, association with certain schools, religious institutions or nationalities, harassment rooted in nationality or ethnicity, exclusion because of accents, the implementation of English-only requirements and more. According to the EEOC, employers are also prohibited from discrimination based on an individual’s appearance and cannot create practices or company rules that intentionally exclude or discriminate against certain groups because of their national origin.


It’s important that every employee and prospective hire that comes into contact with your business receives treatment that is respectful of his or her rights. If you have questions about how the policies of the EEOC affect your company, or if you are an employee who has experienced discriminatory behavior, it’s important to contact a legal professional.

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