Anti-Discrimination Center

Discrimination Defined

Page Guide

Discrimination Defined

Employment Discrimination

Hate Crimes

Immigration Discrimination


Relevant Government Organizations

Civil Rights Organizations

Where to find a lawyer

anti-discriminationDiscrimination is defined as treating one person unfairly over another according to factors unrelated to their ability or potential, such as age, disability, sex, or national origin.

In the aftermath of 9/11 in America, NIAC continues to learn of an alarming number of reports of discrimination and racial profiling against Iranian Americans by both public and private actors.

Reported incidents include:

  • FBI interrogations of Iranian Americans and members of other Middle Eastern and Muslim communities;
  • FBI investigations based on national origin and or past or present activities related to cultural, national, or religious identities;
  • Security clearances being revoked and denied due to Iranian national origin;
  • Firings, harassment, and other employment and personal discrimination based on bias against Iranian national origin; and
  • Deportations of Iranians based on minor immigration technicalities and other infractions.

NIAC urges members of the Iranian-American community who have faced such incidents to use the resources below to educate themselves about their rights and seek appropriate recourse. NIAC will update this webpage and work closely with civil rights organizations to help educate Iranians and Iranian Americans about how to protect their rights.

NIAC only shares information with the explicit permission of individuals.


Employment Discrimination

Based on cases reported to NIAC, the most common form of discrimination affecting the Iranian-American community is employment-related discrimination. For this reason, NIAC has decided to make the following resources available, in an effort to eliminate unfair employment practices against the community. The following includes some, but is not limited to, forms of discrimination one can experience within the workplace.

Common Types of Employment Discrimination Description
National Origin Discrimination National origin discrimination involves treating people (applicants or employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not).

Read more about National Origin Discrimination here 

Race/Color Discrimination Race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.

Read more about Race/Color Discrimination here 

Religious Discrimination Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, and others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.

Read more about Religious discrimination here 

Disability Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because she has a disability.

Read more about Disability Discrimination 

Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal.

Read more about Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination 

If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union or employment agency when applying for a job or while on the job because of your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, or believe that you have been discriminated against because of opposing a prohibited practice or participating in an equal employment opportunity matter, you may file a charge of discrimination.

How to file a charge

Contact local field office

Contact the Department of Justice


Justice Department Employment Litigation Section FAQ


Other Forms of Discrimination

Hate Crimes

Definition: A crime that violates the victim’s civil rights and that is motivated by hostility to the victim’s race, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender.

What to do if you become a victim of a hate crime?

1. Call your local Police Department and file an official police report.

2. Contact NIAC in order to report your incident by Phone: (202) 518-6187, Fax: (202) 518-5507, or per email.

3. Contact your local media and share your story. Find your local media here.

Additional Resources:DOJ Civil Rights, FBI Civil Rights Department, NLSCA, ACLU


Immigration Discrimination

Definition:Immigration is the act of entering a country with the intention of permanently living and/or working there, although U.S. immigration laws also cover entry into the country for almost any purpose — including temporary stays. 

Resources:Amnesty USA, National Immigration Law, National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement, US Department of Justice– Civil Rights,Know Your Rights , Know Your Rights (Persian).



Definition: Communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person.

Additional Resources National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), 


Government Agencies

Agency Description
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Serves student populations to ensure equal access to education, including by resolving discrimination complaints.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the USCIS is responsible for administering immigration and naturalization policies and establishing immigration services, policies, and priorities.
DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Review and assesses allegations of abuse of civil rights or civil liberties, racial or ethnic profiling, by Department of Homeland Security Personnel.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Provides resources for employment discrimination.
The United States Commission on Civil Rights Investigates complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote by reason of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or by reason of fraudulent practices.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Covers immigration issues at the borders, as well as customs concerns.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assists with any problems of housing discrimination. 
U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Responsible for enforcing federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, handicap, religion, and national origin.


Civil Rights Organizations

Organization Description
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Defends and preserves the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR) Human Rights First works in the U.S. and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for the rule of law.
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Serves as the site of record for relevant and up-to-the minute civil rights news and information.
National Immigration Forum Advocates and builds public support for public policies that welcome immigrants and refugees.
National Lawyers Guild Seeks to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization that shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be more sacred than property interests.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Uses the skills and resources of the bar to obtain equal opportunity for minorities by addressing factors that contribute to racial justice and economic opportunity.

Find a lawyer

Organization Description
Iranian American Bar Association Allows users to search for Iranian-American lawyers.  IABA is dedicated to protecting and furthering the interests, and promoting the advancement, of the Iranian-American community at large and the community of Iranian-American attorneys in particular. Allows users to search for lawyers using different criteria, including the ability to speak Persian/Farsi.
National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement The National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA) looks to secure human rights for Middle Easterners, Muslims, and South Asians by advocating unity through diversity with (1) legal defense of civil rights; (2) responsible media coverage and depiction; (3) proactive collaboration with governmental and non-governmental institutions; and (4) fostering education and community outreach.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.