Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On June 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it reached a settlement agreement with an employer in Florida to resolve the DOJ’s claims that the employer allegedly discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen when checking the individual’s permission to work in the United States during the Form I-9 process.
The DOJ determined the employer violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that prohibits employers from asking for unnecessary documents or specifying what documentation workers should present for permission to work because of citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.
The DOJ’s investigation revealed the employer violated the INA by asking a lawful permanent resident to present specific documents to prove their permission to work in the U.S. while making no such request of U.S. citizens. All employees have the right to choose the valid documentation they wish to present on the Form I-9.
Under the settlement agreement, the employer will pay $4,144 in civil penalties, change their employment policies to comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and train its employees who are responsible for verifying workers’ permission to work in the United States during the Form I-9 process.
“Employers cannot discriminate against workers by asking them for specific documents to prove their permission to work based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division stated in a press release from the DOJ about the settlement.
“Employers must allow all employees, regardless of their citizenship status, to provide any valid, acceptable document of their choice to prove their permission to work,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke, who added that she looked forward to working with the employer to implement this settlement.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the INA that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment, or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers in the United States to complete Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and their employment authorization to work in the country. Both employers and employees must complete the form that is available at www.uscis.gov/i-9.
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar, a leading HR-technology company specializing in background, drug, and medical screening – provides a Form I-9 solution so employers may compliantly verify work status for a legal workforce. To learn more, contact ESR today.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar – does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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