Department of Justice Settles Claims of Form I-9 Discrimination against Employment Agency

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement agreement with an employment agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 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.” A news release from the DOJ is available at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/August/12-crt-1004.html.

As part of the settlement with the DOJ, the employment agency will:

  • Undertake immediate corrective action to address and rectify its employment eligibility verification policies and practices,
  • Provide full back pay to both victims by agreeing to pay $4,379 in back pay,
  • Conform all of its actions to ensure compliance with the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and
  • Train its human resources personnel about the company’s responsibility to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process.

According to the DOJ news release, 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 Best Packing’s practices.”

The DOJ’s investigation revealed that the employment 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.”

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 made it unlawful for an employer “to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.” Federal law requires every employer hiring an individual for employment in the United States to verify his or her identity and employment authorization through completion of a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

In an attempt to improve that process, the U.S. Congress created E-Verify, a free Internet-based Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system that allows employers to verify the legal work authorization status of newly hired employees by checking information on the Form I-9 against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.

While federal law mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors in all states use E-Verify, several U.S. states have enacted laws mandating E-Verify usage, creating a confusing patchwork of regulations. A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) can help employers with Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance. For more information, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and a nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/, call 415.898.0044, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.
Source:
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/August/12-crt-1004.html
http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percentage of screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/, call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474 (Toll Free), or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

About ESR News:

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com.

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