An employer with four or more employees generally may not discriminate against you because of your citizenship or immigration status. U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees, and recent lawful permanent residents are protected from citizenship status discrimination in hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee. Call the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the U.S. Department of Justice if you have questions about whether you are protected from this type of discrimination.

An employer may have to limit its hiring based on citizenship status when a law, regulation, executive order, or government contract requires the employer to only hire workers with certain citizenship statuses.

Employers cannot retaliate against or intimidate workers who raise concerns about discrimination under the anti-discrimination law that IER enforces. If an employer discriminates against you in one of these ways, you may be hired, rehired, allowed to keep working, or get paid for time when you should have been allowed to work.

Examples of discrimination

In general, this means that you cannot be:

  • fired,
  • rejected for a job, or
  • threatened or retaliated against

based on your citizenship or immigration status.

Questions? We’re here to help.

The IER is responsible for enforcing a Federal law that protects workers from employment discrimination based upon citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

For additional assistance, please contact:

Interpretation is available in many languages.

Learn about filing a complaint

We’ll inform you of your options for filing a discrimination complaint with IER if you choose to do so. You must file a complaint with IER within at least 180 days of the alleged violation.

Please note that it is illegal for your employer to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against you for reporting an issue to the Justice Department.

File with DOJ