Memorandum of Understanding Between Justice Department and NLRB to Coordinate Anti-Discrimination Based on National Origin or Citizenship Status

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On July 8, 2103, the Justice Department announced that the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Labor Relations Board.  This MOU formalizes a collaborative relationship that allows both agencies to share information, refer matters to each other and coordinate investigations as appropriate.  OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing and recruitment or referral for a fee, as well as discriminatory Form I-9 and E-Verify practices.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the rights of most private-sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions. 

The MOU will allow the NLRB to make referrals to OSC when a matter before the NLRB suggests a possible violation of the anti-discrimination provision, such as verification of employment authorization, in the I-9 or E-Verify process, that appears to be discriminatory based on citizenship status or national origin.  Similarly, the department will refer matters to the NLRB that appear to fall within that agency’s authority, such as infringement on the right to form, join, decertify or assist a labor organization, and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing or to refrain from such activities.  The MOU also provides for cross-training and technical assistance to ensure that staff within each agency can identify appropriate referrals.  OSC has numerous agreements with federal, state and local agencies, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

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