Employees replaced by H-1B visa workers might be unable to prove discrimination
- U.S. workers who were laid off in favor of contract workers with temporary visas will have a hard time suing their former employers for discrimination via Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, reports Bloomberg BNA.
- A group of 30 IT employees sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. under Title VII for replacing them with workers holding H-1B visas because of their race or national origin. Bloomberg says the U.S. Dept. of Justice takes the position that U.S. workers replaced by H-1B visa holders may sue for discrimination under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Per Bloomberg, it’s not clear that discrimination claims involving H-1B visa holders can be filed under Title VII.
- But Michael Eastman, vice president and senior counsel at the Equal Employment Advisory Council, told Bloomberg that Title VII doesn’t apply to discrimination based on citizenship. He also said employees would have a difficult time proving intentional or unintentional discrimination under Title VII.
Employers could find relief in knowing employees might not be able to file discrimination claims under Title VII when they’re replaced by H-1B visa holders. But employers should continue to comply with anti-discrimination laws and avoid disparate treatment of employees under all circumstances.
President Donald Trump plans to reform the H-1B visa program, and lawmakers reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would also make changes. These reforms could favor U.S. workers, leading to fewer employee lawsuits, whether the suits are based on discrimination under Title VII or citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act.