A new agreement aims to make sure that labor rights are protected for employees in the U.S., specifically for foreign nationals. The U.S. Justice Department and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States recently established a formal partnership to protect migrant workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigrant status and national origin.
Partnership against Discrimination in the Workplace
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week, which formalizes the process for immigrant workers to have their discrimination complaints considered by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Part of the MOU states that the Mexican government will work together with the Civil Rights Division to educate foreign national workers about employment rights, and provide them with the necessary resources to protect those rights. The MOU also states that there will be an established system for referring discrimination claims from the embassy and consulates.
In line with these goals, the MOU seeks to promote training for employers of foreign nationals and teach them about the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Among other things, the INA prohibits immigration status, citizenship and national origin as reasons used for hiring, firing, and intimidation.
Cooperation for the Betterment of the Workforce
Fielding labor complaints from foreign nationals is not exactly new for the Justice Department, but the signed MOU streamlines the complaint process for workers to file claims with the department.
Last year, Mexican consulates in the U.S. already educated around 60,000 workers nationwide on what they should do if they experience discrimination. Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada said, “It is our obligation as representatives of Mexico, in the sense of protecting our people.”
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta echoed what Sada said, stating, “The Mexican government plays a vital role in helping the Justice Department ensure workers know about their rights and the protections the law provides.”
He added, “Mexico has taken a leading role in Labor Rights Week, ensuring that workers in Mexico and throughout the world know about their rights in the workplace and where to access help and support. I thank our Mexican counterparts for their collaborative partnership in our shared mission to empower workers and combat discrimination.”
If you would like to know more about your rights as a foreign national working in the U.S., contact Lyttle Law Firm at (512) 215.5225. We are now available for weekend appointments. Check out our website for our complete list of legal services.