Fla. Staffing Co. Caught in Document Scheme

A personnel agency in Florida crossed the legal line in the documents that it required job applicants to hand over to prove their U.S. citizenship. As a consequence, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated.

Sellari’s Enterprises, Inc. (Sellari’s), a company that provides staffing services in Orlando, Florida., reached an agreement with the Justice Department on June 30 that resolves the department’s investigation into whether Sellari’s violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized immigrants when verifying their work authorization.

Based on its investigation, the department concluded that Sellari’s requested that non-U.S. citizens present specific documents to prove their work authorization, such as a Permanent Resident Cards or Employment Authorization Documents, while not requesting specific documents from U.S. citizens. All work-authorized individuals, whether citizens or non-citizens, have the right to choose which valid documentation to present to prove they are authorized to work. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to different or unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

Under the settlement, Sellari’s will pay a civil penalty of $120,000 to the United States, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, train its staff, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for three years.

“The law protects individuals who are work-authorized from discriminatory obstacles during the employment eligibility verification process,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division. “Employers must ensure that their employment eligibility verification processes are not applied in an unlawful manner.”

 

The division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.

 

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

 

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship/immigration status or national origin, or discrimination based on their citizenship/immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance

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