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United States Department of Justice Department Settles with Staffing Agency to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim

The United States Department of Justice announced a settlement with a staffing agency that rejected valid work documents and required the worker to provide specific documents to prove his work authorization.

The Justice Department announced today that it secured a settlement agreement with staffing company Infinity Employment Solutions Inc. (Infinity), formerly doing business as Express Employment Professionals of Mesquite, Texas. The settlement agreement resolves the department’s determination that Infinity violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it discriminated against a worker based on his citizenship status by rejecting his valid documents and requesting that he provide a specific document to prove his permission to work.

“It is unlawful discrimination for employers to reject a worker’s valid documents showing their permission to work because of the worker’s citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting workers who experience discrimination during the hiring process; employers that violate our nation’s civil rights will be held accountable.”

After an investigation, the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) determined that Infinity rejected a lawful permanent resident’s valid driver’s license and unrestricted Social Security card, even though they were enough to show his permission to work. The investigation also found that the company demanded that the worker provide a Permanent Resident Card before he could start working. As a result, the worker lost 20 days of wages.

Under the terms of the settlement, Infinity will pay a civil penalty, provide back pay plus interest to the worker and be subject to monitoring requirements.

Under federal law, employers cannot reject a worker’s valid work authorization document based on the worker’s immigration or citizenship status. Indeed, many non-U.S. citizens, including lawful permanent residents, are eligible for several of the same types of documents to prove their permission to work as U.S. citizens are (for example, a state ID or driver’s license and an unrestricted Social Security card). Employers must allow workers to present whatever acceptable documentation the workers choose and cannot reject valid documentation that reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the worker.

IER is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices and retaliation and intimidation.

Find more information on how employers can avoid discrimination when verifying someone’s permission to work on IER’s website. Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. 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); sign up for a live webinar or watch an on-demand presentation; email or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Sign up for email updates from IER.

Updated April 11, 2024

Source: Office of Public Affairs | Justice Department Secures Agreement with Staffing Agency to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim | United States Department of Justice

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