The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached an agreement with a janitorial services provider based in Tampa, Florida to resolve allegations the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by failing to fully reinstate an employee contesting an initial data mismatch in the federal E-Verify employment eligibility verification system. A news release from the DOJ about the settlement is available at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/September/12-crt-1169.html.
According to the DOJ news release: “The charging party alleged that the company failed to provide the employee with proper notice and instructions for contesting an initial data mismatch in E-Verify, resulting in E-Verify issuing an erroneous final response that she was not work authorized.” Under the terms of the settlement, the janitorial services company has agreed to pay $6,800 in monetary relief to the injured party and to training by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on E-Verify procedures.
After receiving verbal notice of the initial data mismatch and instructions from her supervisor, the DOJ news release reports the employee alleged that the supervisor failed to give her the proper E-Verify paperwork which would have enabled the Social Security Administration (SSA) to resolve the mismatch. The E-Verify program then provided an erroneous response of “final nonconfirmation” to the employer that stated the woman was not eligible to work in the U.S. and so the company terminated her.
The DOJ news release also reports the company refused to reinstate the woman after she contacted the E-Verify hotline for help, allegedly because she asserted her right to work under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which protects employees from discriminatory practices in the employment eligibility verification process – including E-Verify – and prohibits employers from retaliating against individuals who assert their rights or oppose a practice that is illegal under the provision.
E-Verify is a free Internet-based system run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that confirms employment eligibility by comparing information from the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9 all new hires in the U.S. must fill out to information in DHS and SSA databases. While E-Verify is voluntary, federal law mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors use E-Verify and several states have also enacted laws mandating E-Verify use, creating a confusing patchwork of regulations.
A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent can help employers with Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance. To learn more, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php. For information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.