Know Your Rights

This section focuses on how to create hate free and safe workplaces. There are particular recommendations for workplaces with immigrant members, like how to prepare in case of a raid or visit by an ICE agent, as well as your rights against discrimination in the workplace.

Developing a hate-free zone means there is zero tolerance for any behavior or belief that undermines the dignity and value of all human beings.

Immigrant Rights

  • Prepare to have a “go-to” person (i.e. manager, etc) that workers can refer to if an ICE agent shows up at your workplace. The “go-to” person is trained on how to respond to ICE agent’s questions without putting themselves and workers at risk.
  • You may want to consider using a buzzer or intercom system so visitors can be screened before being allowed to enter the premises.
  • Do not open the door. Unless a law enforcement agent has a warrant signed by a judge, they cannot make you open your door or enter your house. If immigration or other law enforcement agents are at the door, ask them to put the warrant under the door so you can look at it. Sometimes ICE agents have a warrant that is signed by another ICE agent, rather than a judge. If the warrant is not signed by a judge, you don’t need to let them in.
    • Remember that ICE agents also wear vests that say “Police.”
      They don’t always identify themselves as ICE agents, so make sure to ask for a warrant and their ID, BEFORE you open the door.
    • Make sure that all workers knows this,
      so they are ready to refer an ICE agent to the “go-to” person identified in their workplace. In a home, make sure that children know not to open the door if they see a person who may be an ICE agent or police.
    • Do not lie, do not show any false documents, do not run or physically resist.
      If agents are inside your workplace, say “I do not want to answer any questions” and ask them to leave their contact information. If they start searching your workplace clearly say, “I do not consent to this search.” It’s important to speak with a calm voice as to avoid escalating the situation. You can let the officer know that you would like to talk with a lawyer and cannot sign any papers at that moment.
    • Record what is happening, if you feel safe doing so.
      At a minimum, when ICE has left the premises, workers should write notes on what they witnessed.
    • In case of a raid, call the local campaign to report the raid and get support.
      Look into the Directory section.
    • Create a safety plan as a workplace,
      indicating each worker's’ needs and emergency contacts. For instance, including in safety plan their arrangements for childcare and school pick-up if they are detained. They should indicate who would be responsible to take care of their children or elderly parent/partner and filling out a caregiver's authorization form with a signature. In case of a raid, worker would infor agents that they are a caregiver of a minor or elderly and/or they have medical needs. It’s also recommended that workers memorize important numbers (attorney, family member’s numbers, etc) because cellphones are taken away.
    • Do not: show foreign documents, tell the immigration officer where you were born, or what your immigration status is.
    • Documents that people at risk of detention/removal
      should be organized and kept in a safe space include documents relating to prior contacts with immigration officials, relating to prior contact with the criminal justice system, and birth certificates for US children. See family preparedness information in Resources Section.
    • If you are able to, speak to an immigration attorney
      who can help you determine your risk of deportation, precautions that you can take in order to mitigate this, and relief opportunities if you are detained. For example, individuals who have been in the U.S. for over 10 years, have permanent resident or citizen children, spouse or family who would suffer undue hardship, and have no criminal record may be eligible for cancellation of removal.

Religious discrimination

  • Federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) and the laws of most states prohibit employers from engaging in religious discrimination: making job decisions based on an employee’s or applicant’s religion or lack of religious beliefs. Title VII also prohibits workplace harassment on the basis of religion. And, Title VII requires employers to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship.
  • For Muslims, employers must allow women to wear their headscarf at work unless undermines safety.
  • Employers may not discriminate on the basis of religion. An employer can be liable for religious harassment if workplace harassment creates a hostile work environment. You must be allowed to practice your faith at work unless accommodating your religious practices would be costly or burdensome for your employer.

Race discrimination

  • Federal and most states' laws forbid race discrimination in every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, compensation, job training, discipline, and termination.
  • When an employer intentionally singles out applicants or employees of a particular race for less favorable treatment, that is “disparate treatment” discrimination. When an employer applies the same policy or practice to everyone, but the burden falls more heavily on employees of a particular race, that is "disparate impact" discrimination.
  • Harassment on the basis of race is also prohibited. Harassing conduct might include racial slurs, jokes about a particular racial group, or physical acts of significance to a certain racial group (for example, hanging or posting an offensive picture or object near an employee's workspace).

Language and Accent discrimination

  • Federal law prohibits discrimination based on national origin, which includes a person's ancestry, birthplace, culture, or surnames associated with a particular ethnicity. Because linguistic characteristics -- the language an employee speaks and the accent an employee uses -- are often associated with national origin, English-only and language fluency policies can be discriminatory in some cases. At the same time, however, there may be legitimate reasons for job requirements based on linguistic characteristics, such as requiring that employees be fluent in English or speak in a way that can be easily understood by customers and coworkers.
  • An employer may decide not to hire or promote an employee to a position that requires clear oral communication in English if the employee's accent substantially affects his or her ability to communicate clearly. However, if the employee's accent does not impair his or her ability to be understood, the employer may not make job decisions on that basis. For example, an employer may not simply adopt a blanket rule that employees who speak accented English may not work in customer service positions.