The Justice Department announced today the launch of an educational video reminding employers that Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may continue working beyond the March 9, 2012, expiration date of their Employment Authorization Documents.
This announcement by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) informs employers that they can continue to employ workers with TPS from El Salvador and at the same time avoid claims of discrimination in the employment eligibility reverification process. TPS is a temporary immigration benefit allowing qualified individuals from designated countries who are in the U.S. to stay here for a limited time period, due to conditions such as on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the designated country. Individuals with TPS can obtain employment authorization documents to work legally in the United States. Often, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces an extension to TPS, it also automatically extends TPS workers’ Employment Authorization Documents. Employers may become confused by this automatic extension because it creates an exception to the rule that Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 documents must be unexpired. DHS has automatically extended Employment Authorization documents for individuals with TPS from El Salvador until September 9, 2012.
OSC enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner with respect to hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee, regardless of their citizenship status or national origin. The law also prohibits discrimination during the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes. OSC runs a hotline, which generally receives an uptick in calls from employers and employees concerning TPS near the expiration date on the face of the Employment Authorization Documents that have been automatically extended. The video is an attempt to educate employers and prevent potential claims of discrimination from work-authorized individuals losing their jobs.
The video may be viewed at www.justice.gov/crt/pressroom/videos.php?group=3.
“We hope this video will help employers across the country understand employment eligibility verification rules and will allow work-authorized workers to maintain their employment,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”