Citizenship and immigration status

You have protections against discrimination.

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. Contact 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 based on citizenship or immigration status. 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.

Caucasian employer holding pen showing something on laptop screen and explaining it to Muslim woman in hijab

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:


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.

Discrimination can occur when you and the person who discriminated against you have the same citizenship or immigration status.

Additional resources

Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.