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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: Labor, Justice Join to Combat National Origin Discrimination [01/08/1997]

For more information call: 202/219-8211

In a move to protect legal workers' opportunities and rights, two federal agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today that will help prevent national origin discrimination in the workplace while curtailing the national problem of undocumented workers.

"Discrimination by federal contractors against legal workers will not be tolerated," said Shirley Wilcher, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the OFCCP, whose agency enforces laws like 11246 that prohibit discrimination in the federal contracting community "While we must make sure that jobs are filled by legal workers, we must also protect those workers so they are not suspect upon application for a job simply because of their national origins."

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Department of Justice's Office of Special Counsel (OSC) entered the agreement, which stems from an executive order President Clinton signed last February 13 banning from federal contracts companies that use undocumented workers. Equally, the Clinton executive order, buttressed by Executive Order 11246 -- one of the country's equal employment opportunity laws -- states that the federal protections against unlawful employment discrimination based on national origin are also critical objectives, and that the administration will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Executive Order 11246, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, permits the OFCCP to debar any federal contractor found discriminating against individuals on the basis of national origin. The Clinton Executive Order, Number 12989, permits the Justice Department to debar federal contractors that hire undocumented workers.

Today's announcement is the latest in the Labor and Justice Departments combined effort to fight against illegal workers. The two departments have continued to work together, but today marks the first agreement between the OFCCP and the OSC.

The MOU, designed to facilitate coordination between the two agencies, provides for:

  • the appointment of agency liaisons to facilitate cooperation and coordination of the agreement;
  • a reciprocal training component to familiarize each agency with the other's jurisdiction;
  • the dissemination of educational materials to employers and the public;
  • the coordination of public outreach efforts.

"Today's memorandum will help strengthen our efforts to combat immigration-related discrimination in the workplace," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
January 8, 1997
Media Contact: David Roberts
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