Every time you begin work at a new job, your employer is likely to ask you to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This form ensures the company complies with its legal obligations under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
While your employer likely must verify your identity and authorization to work in the U.S., you should not become the victim of citizenship status discrimination.
Citizenship status discrimination
The IRCA prevents employers from discriminating against individuals because of their citizenship or immigration status. Provided you are eligible to work in the U.S. and can meet the I-9 standard, your employer may not use your citizenship or immigration status to take adverse employment action against you.
National origin discrimination
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also protects you from national origin discrimination. This type of discrimination occurs when your employer takes adverse employment action against you because of your actual or perceived nationality.
National origin discrimination may also be citizenship status discrimination if your employer requires certain groups of workers to present additional or different documents for I-9 purposes.
Your legal rights
If you suspect your employer may be engaging in citizenship status discrimination or national origin discrimination, you may have valid grounds to file a discrimination complaint. If you file one, your employer may not retaliate against you. That is, federal law prevents your employer from punishing you for exercising your legal rights.
Employers who follow Form I-9 instructions carefully typically do not engage in citizenship status discrimination or national origin discrimination. Ultimately, if something seems fishy when you are completing the employment eligibility verification process, you may need to act quickly to protect your job.