Walking a Tightrope: Employment Rights of Foreign Nationals in the Workplace

AuthorRobert K. Robinson,Geralyn McClure Franklin
Published date01 December 2002
Date01 December 2002
Walking a Tightrope: Employment
Rights of Foreign Nationals
in the Workplace
Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, human resource
(HR) professionals have become increasingly concerned
about the employment rights of foreign nationals working
in the United States. Questions have arisen regarding a broad
spectrum of employment practices, ranging from the preferential
hiring of American citizens to workplace harassment of foreign
nationals from countries that support terrorism. There can be little
doubt that as security concerns increase, employment laws will be
revised accordingly. However, to date, few revisions have occurred.
Consequently, this article reviews the current state of employ-
ment rights of foreign nationals working in the United States and
employer compliance responsibilities regarding these employees.
The scope of our attention is focused on four major areas of federal
regulatory compliance: (1) equal employment opportunity, (2)
immigration control, (3) fair labor standards, and (4) labor
relations. The basic premise adopted by the federal courts in all
of these areas is that, unless specif‌ically excluded by law, once a
foreign national begins an employment relationship on American
soil, that individual enjoys the full protection of our employment
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
is the foundation for most
federal equal employment opportunity requirements governing
Business and Society Review 107:4 489–500
Ó2002 Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College, Published by Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK.

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