[Editor’s Note: today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Bruce Buchanan, an immigration attorney in the Nashville, TN office of Siskind Susser PC.]
March was a busy month for the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, a division of the Department of Justice. It settled cases against Onward Healthcare, Indrescom Security Technology, and Ross Department Stores, who were each accused of immigration discrimination.
Onward Healthcare, a healthcare staffing company based in Connecticut, resolved allegations that the company posted discriminatory job advertisements on its home page and third party websites that limited its jobs to U.S. citizens. Over a one year period, thousands of Onward Healthcare’s job postings impermissibly limited applications to U.S. citizens, even though work-authorized immigrants, such as lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees, should have been allowed to apply.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) generally prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of citizenship status unless required by law, regulation or government contract. It was determined Onward Healthcare had no legal basis for its stated citizenship preference. Under the settlement agreement, Onward Healthcare agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties, to change its internal policies and manuals to reflect the INA’s protections, and to be subject to reporting and compliance monitory requirements for a period of three years.
The Indrescom Security Technology and Ross Stores settlements involved situations where the employers demanded more documentary requirements for permanent residents than U.S. citizens. Specifically, Ross Stores refused to honor a work authorization document and demanded a permanent resident card while Indrescom refused to accept a valid driver’s license and Social Security card and demanded a permanent resident card.
Per the settlement agreement, Ross Stores agreed to reinstate the charging party and pay $6,384 in back pay plus interest to the charging party and $10,825 in civil penalties to the United States. Ross Stores also agrees to comply with the law, to train its human resources personnel about employers’ responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process and to be subject to reporting and compliance monitory requirements for 18 months. Similarly, Indrescom agreed to pay $7,000 in back pay to the charging party, train its human resources personnel and be subject to reporting and compliance monitoring requirements for three years.
The lessons to be learned through these settlements are do not limit you applicant pool to only U.S. citizens unless you have a government contract or similar situation which requires only U.S. citizens and do not demand the employee’s permanent resident card if they have already provided you with sufficient documentation to establish work authorization.
Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.