In October 2020, the U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement with Security Management of South Carolina LLC, which is a private security company for hire throughout South Carolina and Georgia. The case against them resulted from allegations that Security Management revoked a conditional job offer from a naturalized U.S. citizen on the basis of his immigration status. This was part of a larger pattern of discriminating against non-native U.S. citizens and other qualified applicants. Learn more about the settlement reached against this South Carolina security firm.
If you’ve experienced discrimination based on your immigration status, it’s crucial to know that it is illegal and you have options to seek redress. Contact the law firm of Hitchcock & Potts to discuss your case.
National Origin Is Protected
The South Carolina Human Affairs Law (HAL) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 both list national origin as a protected class, meaning that it cannot be used as reason to discriminate against a person. There are other laws that prohibit discrimination based on immigration status or national origin, such as the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA), which covers more employers. Title VII only covers companies with at least 15 employees, while the INA covers those with as few as four workers.
The INA explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of immigration status in “hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee.” Security Management was found to have withdrawn their conditional job offer to the naturalized U.S. citizen upon being told about his immigration status. They also have allegedly engaged in a pattern of the same behavior. In their advertising, Security Management restricted their positions in Georgia to U.S. citizens without any legal reason to do so, as well as specifying citizens only in some of their ads.
You Have Options
While there are rare exceptions that allow employers to only hire U.S. citizens (such as for jobs that affect national security), generally, if you believe that you have experienced unequal treatment based on your national origin, you may have a claim against your employer if you can establish certain criteria. It can sometimes be difficult to establish that discriminatory treatment has happened on the basis of national origin, because it can very often appear to be something different. For example, harassment based on dark skin may be race-based, or it may be related to national origin or legal immigration status.
In addition to the protections afforded to workers in cases like Security Management’s, it’s important to remember that undocumented workers are entitled to the same recourse if they are treated unfairly on the job. While there are rules against knowingly hiring undocumented employees, someone without documentation must be treated exactly the same as a “legal” worker once they are hired. If your employer threatens to contact Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a result of your filing a discrimination complaint, that is also against the law.
Contact A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Attorney
Immigration status and national origin are characteristics that have little relevance to a person’s ability to do a job (with rare exceptions). If you believe that you have been denied employment opportunities or harassed due to your national origin, you have the right to file a complaint. Attorney A. Christopher Potts and the firm of Hitchcock & Potts have been handling employment discrimination cases for years and can offer the help you need. Contact our offices today for a consultation.