LAS–ELC’s National Origin, Immigration, and Language Rights Program provides legal help to workers who face discrimination because they belong to a particular ethnic community (such as Latina/os, East Asians, and South Asians), because they or their ancestors immigrated to the United States, or because of their linguistic or cultural characteristics. This type of discrimination may include, for example, discrimination against persons because they are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents; because they have limited proficiency in English, are required to speak only English at work, or speak with an accent; or because they are required to conform to a dress or grooming code that is contrary to deeply-held personal beliefs.
It is against the law to discriminate against workers because of where they were born or the language they speak. Immigrant workers and native-born Americans alike are protected against discrimination based on their national origin.
Immigrant Workers’ Rights
Immigrants often accept the least desirable and lowest-paying jobs because of limited language and work skills. They often are subject to workplace abuses because of their immigration status, even though they have the same rights in the workplace as documented and native workers.
LAS–ELC fights against exploitation of immigrant workers. Among other things, we devise legal strategies that help workers to assert their rights to earn a legal wage and be free from discrimination and retaliation.
The United States has always been a melting pot and non-English speaking people continue to be an important part of the American workforce. Sometimes people who don’t speak English well are treated differently from those who do. This may be a violation of their rights as workers.
The LAS–ELC identifies cases where employers have unlawfully discriminated against workers with low English skills, and provides resources and legal help.
The tools we use include:
LAS–ELC helps individuals through litigation and administrative advocacy to enforce their rights against types of discrimination that affect immigrant workers, particularly those who lack legal status in the United States. LAS–ELC offers a national, toll-free Language Rights Information Line (800) 864-1664 for people who believe they have experienced discrimination in the workplace because of the language they speak or due to limited English skills. The Language Rights Information Line offers services in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. Counselors will gather the relevant facts, consult with attorneys, and provide advice, referrals, and limited representation in cases where an individual’s legal rights appear to have been violated. More information
LAS–ELC engages in class action litigation to protect immigrant workers, and on behalf of employees and others who have been discriminated against because of their national origin or traits and characteristics associated with national origin. LAS–ELC takes legal action, including appellate issues and amicus briefs aimed at protecting immigrant workers. We also help individuals through litigation and administrative advocacy to enforce their rights against discriminatory language policies both within and outside the workplace.
LAS–ELC provides advice, counseling, and self-help tools, such as fact sheets on national origin and language rights, as well as self-help materials. LAS–ELC also provides limited representation, and can offer guidance to employers on discrimination issues.
LAS–ELC collaborates with a range of advocates and communities through technical assistance and other means to identify and strengthen the common interests shared by national origin and immigrant communities nationwide.