Back in 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released its Strategic Enforcement Plan for the coming years. The agency named six enforcement priorities:
- Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring
- Addressing Emerging and Developing Issues
- Enforcing Equal Pay Laws
- Preserving Access to the Legal System
- Preventing Harassment Through Systemic Enforcement and Targeted Outreach
- Protecting Immigrant, Migrant, and Other Vulnerable Workers
Enforcing Protections for Immigrant WorkersThe EEOC is specifically targeting unequal pay, job segregation, workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and trafficking as it pertains to immigrant workers in America. It is not uncommon for migrant employees to be unaware of their rights, making it easier for employers to take advantage of them. In other cases, immigrants may be reluctant to bring a complaint forward for fear of workplace retaliation.
A recent court victory should go a long way towards promoting equality and security for immigrant employees. The EEOC accused a ship building company of hiring immigrant workers, then subjecting them to “a pattern or practice of race and national origin discrimination, including unfavorable working conditions and forcing the men to pay $1,050 a month to live in overcrowded, unsanitary, guarded camps.”
The company allegedly forced foreign workers, primarily from India, to live in cramped shipping containers with as many as 24 others. The company agreed to a settlement of $5 million.