Late Friday, you might have (ok, I’m sure you did) missed a press release from the United States Department of Justice announcing a settlement with a staffing agency in California.
The charge? That a staffing company “discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).”
Now, I’m sure you all know (ok, I’m sure a few of you don’t know), that after an offer of employment is made, employers must require the to-be-hired individuals to present documentation to verify their eligibility to work in the United States.
But the DOJ charged that the “company’s staff required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents during the employment eligibility verification process to establish their work authority. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.”
I’ve previously discussed the I-9 form in some prior posts. But in essence, employers need to use consistent practices at the start of employment.
The staffing agency is learning this issue the hard way: Under the settlement agreement, the company “will pay $230,000 in civil penalties to the United States, create a $35,000 back pay fund to compensate individuals who may have lost wages due to the company’s practices and undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.” Oh, and the agency will be subject to government monitoring and reporting requirements for three years.
Employers have a lot to worry about when hiring new employees. Add consistent treatment of new hires to the list.