The United States Department of Justice announced a settlement with a staffing agency that routinely discriminated against non-U.S. citizen workers.
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with Corp IV Holdings Inc., doing business as Masterson Staffing Solutions (Masterson Staffing), a staffing company based in Minnesota. The agreement resolves the department’s determination that Masterson Staffing violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by routinely discriminating against its non-U.S. citizen workers when checking their permission to work in the United States.
“When employees present legally acceptable documentation to demonstrate their permission to work, employers cannot demand different or additional documents because of the employees’ citizenship or immigration status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue the important work of ensuring that workers do not face unlawful barriers to employment.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Masterson Staffing will pay a civil penalty of $250,000 to the United States, and make $100,000 available for a back pay fund to compensate victims of Masterson Staffing’s alleged discriminatory practices. Additionally, Masterson Staffing will train staff on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, modify its policies, and be subject to quarterly reporting requirements.
The department’s investigation determined that Masterson Staffing routinely required specific documents from newly-hired non-U.S. citizens to prove their permission to work in the United States even though Federal law allows workers to choose among legally acceptable documents, regardless of citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. Specifically, the department found that Masterson Staffing required lawful permanent residents to show their Permanent Resident Cards (sometimes known as green cards), and other non-U.S. citizens to show their Employment Authorization Documents (sometimes known as work permits). At least one asylee lost work because of this discriminatory practice. The department also found that Masterson Staffing routinely required certain lawful permanent residents to show unnecessary documents to prove their continued permission to work.
The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from asking for specific documents because of a worker’s citizenship, immigration status or national origin. Indeed, many non-U.S. citizens, including lawful permanent residents, refugees, and asylees, are eligible for several of the same types of documents to prove their permission to work as U.S. citizens (such as driver’s licenses and unrestricted Social Security cards). Employers must allow workers to present whatever acceptable documentation the workers choose and cannot reject valid documentation that reasonably appears to be genuine. In addition, if a lawful permanent resident provides an unexpired permanent resident card to prove their permission to work, employers must not request new documentation if the permanent resident card later expires. The INA prohibits employers from unnecessarily reverifying a worker’s permission to work.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute 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.
Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. Find more information on how employers can avoid discrimination when verifying permission to work on IER’s website. Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment, or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify); or subjected to retaliation, may file a charge. The public can also call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email IER@usdoj.gov; sign up for a free webinar; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.