The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with a Virginia based ship repair company who were found to have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary and additional documentary requirements on work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when establishing their eligibility to work in the United States.
The investigations revealed that since at least Jan. 1, 2009 the company has imposed different and greater requirements in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process on lawful permanent residents as compared to U.S. citizen employees by requiring all newly hired lawful permanent residents to present Permanent Resident Cards, commonly known as “green cards,” as a condition of employment. The INA requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner during the employment eligibility verification process, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status. “Employers may not treat authorized workers differently during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”
According to the settlement agreement, the company agreed to ensure that the employment eligibility verification policies and procedures of all its subsidiaries comply with the law, to train its human resources personnel about employers’ responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and to produce Forms I-9 for inspection for three years. The company also agreed to pay $53,900 to the United States.
Organizations should be careful while filling I-9 to ensure that no discriminatory practice is followed and everyone is treated equally in the company. An employer does not have the freedom to dictate what documents can be submitted to prove employment eligibility and citizenship and any action or policy that does not strictly follow this thumb rule can find themselves mired in discriminatory lawsuits and fines.
EMPTrust provides electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that can be seamlessly intergrated into your HR system and help ensure legal compliance.
Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Any issues regarding compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations should be addressed through your legal department or outside counsel.