The Justice Department announced today the filing of a lawsuit with the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) against a bus company based in Houston.

The complaint alleges the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision by preferring to hire temporary nonimmigrant visa holders over U.S. citizens, certain lawful permanent residents and other protected individuals for bus driver positions.  Specifically, the complaint states that from at least September 2012 to February 2013, the company failed to consider the applications of many qualified U.S. citizens and other protected individuals, or actively discouraged them from pursuing their applications, while at the same time petitioning the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to hire up to 50 foreign workers on H-2B visas.  The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs when there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing or qualified to do the temporary work.  The complaint further alleges that the company hired 42 H-2B workers during this period, and in doing so, represented to the DOL and USCIS that there were not enough qualified workers in the United States to fill the 50 bus driver positions.  The complaint seeks an order prohibiting future discrimination by the bus company, civil penalties, back pay for injured parties and injunctive relief. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring against certain workers based on their citizenship status.