Posts Tagged ‘citizenship discrimination’

Meat Plant Fined for Work Document Violations

A meat processing plant in Illinois has some boning up to do on immigration law.

The Justice Department on Monday announced it has signed a settlement agreement with West Liberty Foods L.L.C., an Iowa-based meat processing business that operates a plant in Bolingbrook, Illinois, to resolve the Department’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against work-authorized immigrants when verifying their employment authorization, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Department’s investigation revealed that West Liberty Foods routinely asked non-U.S. citizens hired at its Bolingbrook location to present specific documents, such as permanent resident cards or Employment Authorization Documents, to establish their work authority but did not make similar requests of U.S. citizens. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to more or different documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

Under the settlement, West Liberty Foods will pay a civil penalty of $52,100 to the United States, ensure that its human resources staff participate in department-provided training, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.

“When verifying an employee’s work authorization, employers must ensure that they do not impose unlawful barriers based on citizenship status,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend West Liberty Foods for its cooperation with the Department’s investigation, and look forward to working with the company to implement this agreement.”

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) 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; 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.

Staffing Agency Settles Immigration Discrimination Claim Filed by US DOJ

A Utah staffing agency will pay $17,600 in penalties and cease requiring non-U.S. citizens to provide specified documents to establish the can work legally in this country.

The terms of the settlement were announced yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice, whose Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for  Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) asserted the claims against 1st Class Staffing LLC, based in Orem, Utah.

DOJ said that OSC investigators determined that its Fontana, California office routinely requested that non-U.S. citizens, but not U.S. citizens, provide specific immigration documents to establish their authority to work.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, must be allowed to choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the lists of acceptable documents to prove their work authorization.  It is unlawful for an employer to limit an employee’s choice of documentation because of their citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

“Employers must ensure that their human resources, hiring and recruitment staff understand and implement proper hiring practices to avoid violating anti-discrimination laws,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “We commend 1st Class for its cooperation and commitment to removing unnecessary and unlawful employment barriers.”

The INA prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.

Sheriff Department, School District Settle Citizenship Status Claims Filed by U.S. DOJ

Immigration policy will be a major focus in the incoming Trump Administration-for good or for ill–but in the meantime the work of enforcing the nation’s existing laws goes on.

The U.S. Department of Justice this week announced settlements in two cases alleging employment discrimination based on citizenship.

One case involved the Denver Sheriff Department, the other the Aldine, Texas, Independent School District.

In the action against the sheriff department, the DOJ said its investigation had revealed that om approximately Jan. 1, 2015, until approximately March 23, 2016, the department discriminated based on citizenship status by requiring applicants for deputy sheriff positions to be U.S. citizens and publishing job postings with U.S. citizenship requirements, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Among other  terms of the settlement agreement, the Denver Sheriff Department will pay $10,000 in civil penalties and identify applicants who may have been disqualified from consideration for deputy sheriff positions due to the citizenship requirement and consider these applicants’ qualifications without regards to their citizenship.

Meanwhile, in the independent school district case, DOJ found that Aldine required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents when reverifying their employment eligibility once their original documents expired.  That violates the INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibiting employers from making specific documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying or reverifying an employee’s authorization to work.

To settle that claim, the district is paying $140,000, and will implement a three-year program to train employees, students and students’ parents on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

Read about the settlement by the sheriff department here and by the school district here.

Landscape Co. Docked for Immigration Violations

It’ll cost a landscaping company in Fort Myers, Fla., $7,500 to settle allegations it discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Nov. 23.

DOJ said that its of investigation of Sunny Grove  Landscaping & Nursery Inc. (Sunny Grove) found that Sunny Grove discriminated against lawful permanent residents by requiring them to produce permanent resident cards to prove their work authorization, whereas U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whatever valid documentation they wanted to prove their work authorization.

Lawful permanent residents do not have to show their permanent resident cards when they start working, DOJ reminds employers.  Like all workers, they can choose whatever valid documentation they want to establish their employment authorization, and many lawful permanent residents have the same work authorization documents as U.S. citizens.

Just last week McDonald’s USA LLP and its corporate affiliates and subsidiaries settled DOJ allegations putting an end to the company’s “long standing practice” of requiring lawful permanent residents to show a new permanent resident card when their original document expires

Read more about the Sunny Grove settlement here.

Fla. School System Settles Citizenship Bias Case

We seem to be in a spree of employers behaving badly under the nation’s immigration laws.

Now it is Miami Dade County Public School’s turn to make good for allegedly requiring non-U.S. citizens to present documents showing their eligibility to work in the United States, but not requiring the same of U.S. citizens.

The U.S. Department of Justice said today that MDCPS will pay a $90,000 civil penalty to the United States and will establish a $125,000 back pay fund to compensate individuals who lost wages because of the MDCPS’ practices, under a settlement of DOJ’s claim against the school system for violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making specific documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying an employee’s authorization to work, the DOJ reminded employers.

Here’s the DOJ’s announcement of the settlement.

For two other INA cases within the last week, click here and here.


DOJ: Staffing Agencies Broke Law By Requiring Naturalization Papers From Puerto Ricans

If we’re ever going to solve the problem of undocumented workers in this country, we’re all going to have to be on the page in knowing who already is a citizen or not.  According to the U.S. Justice Department, three Memphis-area staffing agencies didn’t know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. And that led to abuse of the requirements that all workers present documentation of their right to work in this country.

The DOL had alleged that Prestigious Placement; PFSWeb Inc.; and its subsidiary, Priority Fulfillment Services Inc., violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by rejecting two Puerto Rican applicant s’ valid birth certificates and instead demanding valid nationalization certificates.

But if the agency had done its homework,  it would know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth and don’t need naturalization papers.

As DOJ reminded,  “Under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, employers cannot discriminate in hiring or place additional documentary burdens on workers during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship or perceived citizenship.”

Wisely, the agencies decided to settle the case. Under the settlement agreement, the companies will compensate the charging parties for lost wages; pay civil penalties to the United States; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; revise their employment policies and training materials; and be subject to monitoring of their employment eligibility verification practices for two years.

Read moreabout the case.

And here’s more information on the immigration laws enforced by DOJ’s Office of Special Counsel.


DOJ, Contractor Settle Citizenship Bias Charges

A federal subcontractor in Bethesda, Maryland, has settled U.S. Department of Justice claims that it engaged in hiring discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to DOL charges, the Data Entry Company on two occasions removed a U.S. citizen from its job applicant pool because she was a dual citizen.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from engaging in hiring discrimination on the basis of citizenship, DOJ said.

Under the settlement agreement announced on May 8, the company will pay $7,007.75 in back pay to the charging party and will also pay a civil penalty to the United States.  The company also will undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

To read more about the case, click here.