The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement agreement with a Philadelphia based employment agency resolving allegations that the company discriminated under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when it impermissibly delayed the start date of two refugees after requiring them to provide specific Form I-9 documentation.

In two charges filed with the department, the refugees alleged that they were not allowed to begin employment until they produced unexpired Department of Homeland Security-issued employment authorization documents, despite the fact that they initially presented sufficient documentation for employment eligibility verification purposes. The charging parties had presented unexpired state identification cards and unrestricted Social Security cards at the time of hire. Both were permanently work-authorized but lost several weeks’ worth of wages as a result of the company’s practices. The department’s investigation revealed that the agency did not demand specific Form I-9 documentation from U.S. citizens, but allowed them to provide state identification cards and unrestricted Social Security cards. The anti-discrimination provision prohibits treating employees differently in the employment eligibility verification and reverification processes based on citizenship status or national origin.

As part of the settlement, the agency will undertake immediate corrective action to address and rectify its employment eligibility verification policies and practices. As part of its corrective action, they will provide full back pay to both victims. Under the settlement agreement, the company agrees to pay $4,379 in back pay, to conform all of its actions to ensure compliance with the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and to train its human resources personnel about the company’s responsibility to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process.