The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially agreed to join forces to create programs that will benefit Mexican nationals working in the United States.
EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien and Eduardo Mora, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, signed the new Memorandum of Understanding. In 2013 EEOC. signed a similar agreement with Mexico’s consular offices in Miami and Orlando (AA, 8-31-13, P. 3).
The U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, and the National Labor Relations Board also have reached workplace protection agreements with several Mexican consulates in Arizona to encourage immigrant workers to report problems.
The new EEOC MOU proposes that compensation collected by the agency from employers in the U.S. will be routed to Mexican nationals who have returned to Mexico. If the Mexican government succeeds in reaching an employee who is owed compensation, EEOC will then route a check from the former employer to the worker, with the help of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The centerpiece of the MOU is the training of Mexican consulate staff by EEOC. The aim is to provide guidance to the Mexican national community from Mexico’s local consulates and other “appropriate forums” to better reach both the working Mexican national, as well as employers. The agreement also is said to focus on promoting dialogue on employment discrimination and equal employment opportunity.
An agreement to increase awareness regarding the rights of workers in the United States, regardless of nationality, could impact not just the workers but also the employers who are tasked with creating a compliant workplace in an already convoluted legal system, according to attorney Mel M. C. Cole of the law firm of Littler Mendelson.
“Ultimately, we will not know the reach of the effects until we see how seriously the two governments take the goals established in the MOU,” Cole said. “What we do know, however, is that employers – no matter what happens – will be paying attention.”