Pennsylvania employers may know about DACA and the protection that it offers to roughly 800,000 younger undocumented immigrants in the United States. However, that program may end if Congress does nothing to extend or otherwise alter the program. Employers who have workers covered by DACA may be tempted to terminate them or otherwise ask about their immigration status. However, this may be seen as illegal discrimination.
If a company is currently employing someone who is protected by DACA, the company must terminate that worker after his or her work permit expires. By some estimates, that could result in 30,000 people in the DACA program losing their jobs each month over the next two years. This is according to the Center for American Progress. Of those who are in the DACA program, about 700,000 of them are currently working.
If an individual has a valid work permit that expires between now and March 5, 2018, that person may be able to renew that permit. This means that those in the DACA program may be eligible to work until 2020. However, it is illegal to hire or employ those who do not have valid permits to do so. The penalties could be as high as $4,384 per employee, and business owners could spend up to 10 years in prison.
Discriminating against a person based on that person’s country or origin or immigration status may be a violation of employment law. Those who believe that they have been discriminated against may wish to consult with an experienced attorney in order to learn what recourse might be available.