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Employee Rights

Employers must treat employees in a non-discriminatory manner when recruiting, hiring, firing, and verifying their identity and authorization to work on Form I-9.

Your employer MAY NOT: 

  • Demand that you show specific documents because of your national origin, ethnicity, immigration or citizenship status, race, color, religion, age, gender or disability, or because of any other protected characteristic. For example, your employer may not:
  • Refuse to accept your document or refuse to hire you because of an unfounded suspicion that your document is fraudulent. For example, your employer may not refuse to accept your U.S. passport because you have limited English proficiency.  
  • Treat you differently than other applicants because you are, or your employer believes that you are, a U.S. citizen or noncitizen. 
  • Ask to see your employment authorization documents before he or she hires you or before you complete Form I-9. 
  • Refuse to accept your document or refuse to hire you because your document expires in the future. 
  • Limit jobs to U.S. citizens unless U.S. citizenship is required by law or government contract. 
  • Demand a specific document when reverifying that you are authorized to work. You may present any document either from List A or from List C to demonstrate that you are still authorized to work.

Your employer must:

  • Provide you with the complete Form I-9, including instructions for completing the form.
  • Accept your documentation if it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to you.
  • Allow you the choice of what documentation to provide. In other words, your employer cannot demand that you provide a U.S. passport or “green card.”
  • Reject any document that does not reasonably appear to be genuine or to relate to you.
  • Your employer MUST NOT, under the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision, retaliate against you for:
  • Contacting the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, Civil Rights Division, or the Equal Opportunity Commission for assistance or to file a complaint.
  • Complaining about discrimination or otherwise asserting your or another’s rights.
  • Participating in an investigation or lawsuit on behalf of an alleged victim.

If you feel your employer did not hire you, treated you differently during the hiring or Form I-9 process, or terminated you because of your national origin, or immigration or citizenship status, call OSC at 1-800-255-7688 (Worker Hotline) or 1-800-237-2515 (TDD) or visit OSC’s website.

You may also contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if you feel you have been discriminated against in employment based on your race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity or any other prohibited basis. Call 1-800-USA-EEOC or 1-800-669-6820 (TDD) or visit the EEOC website.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/13/2011