Q: Can an employer refuse to hire you on OPT?
I am a Masters' graduate from a STEM degree. I graduated in May 2020 so I am currently on OPT. I was given a confirmed written offer by a company, but when they were doing background checks etc, they asked me about my visa status. I told them I was on STEM OPT so I officially had 3 years of unrestricted legal work authorization. However, they said that they do not hire anyone who does not have a long term work authorization (basically citizenship or green card). I had already quit my previous job because I had the formal written offer and now they are trying rescind the offer based on my visa, leaving me in a very tough spot. Is that legal for a company to do? I am not even asking for H1-B sponsorship - just the opportunity to work for 3 years while my Employment Authorization Document is still valid, but they refuse, saying it's company policy. Is this legal? Can this be seen as discrimination? Really appreciate all responses. Thank you!
A: If employment is at will, then there is probably nothing you can do about it. It is hard to say if discrimination based on visa status is valid, given a company’s long-term goals. Your best option would be to discuss your case with an attorney with knowledge of workplace issues.
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