US Signs Agreement with Mexico to Protect Mexican Workers--Including Illegals

September 2, 2014 - 2:58 PM
Mexican Ambassador

Mexican Ambassador to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora Icaza signed a Memorandum of Understanding between his country and the U.S. on Aug. 29, 2014 to protect Mexican Nationals working in this country. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – At a signing ceremony on Friday, the U.S. government, through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mexican government to allow Mexican Nationals – regardless of immigration status – to “exercise their workplace rights.”

The MOU is consistent with the “core mission of this commission,” Mexican Ambassador to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora Icaza said, adding “that regardless of national origin or immigration status all workers have rights and there are processes to safeguard them.

“This is what makes this country so great,” the ambassador said.

The four-page memorandum states in the “Overall Objective” section, in part, that its purpose is: “to establish a collaborative relationship to provide Mexican Nationals in the United States with information, guidance, and access to education and training resources to help them understand and exercise their workplace rights, particularly with regard to reducing violations against them under the laws and regulations that are administered and enforced by EEOC.”

Those laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.

EEOC General Counsel David Lopez said at the event that it was fitting that the ceremony took place on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The MOU was signed by the Mexican ambassador and EEOC Chairman Jacqueline Berrien on her last day of service.

“Today we memorialize a relationship to help ensure this historic act and other antidiscrimination laws we enforce apply to all workers who live and work in this country,” Lopez said, adding it also was part of the commission’s “strategic enforcement plan through 2016.

“This redoubles our efforts to ensure even the most vulnerable workers are protected by the laws – even those who live and work in the shadows,” Lopez said.

The MOU, which is in place for three years, states that the EEOC will conduct an ongoing program of education and training to inform Mexican Nationals about their workplace rights and employers about their responsibility to follow anti-discrimination laws.

When CNSNews.com asked how employers who have broken federal law by hiring illegal aliens can be sued for discrimination or abuse, a spokeswoman said EEOC does not require “documentation” to handle a claim.

“Yes, under federal law, it is illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers,” Kimberly Smith-Brown told CNSNews.com via email. “However, when someone does come to us with a complaint, we will assist them with their claim.

“The EEOC does not ask the documentation status of anyone that comes to our offices,” Smith-Brown said. “An undocumented worker is afforded the same protections under the law as everyone else.”