Department of Justice Reaches Settlement With IT Staffing Company Over Claims of Immigration Related Discrimination

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently announced reaching a settlement with an information technology staffing and recruitment provider over claims that it discriminated against U.S. workers based on their citizenship or immigration status. According to the DOJ, the employers favored non-U.S. workers in their hiring process due to their client’s preference for workers with temporary employment-based visas.

The DOJ’s investigation into the matter began in response to a U.S. citizen’s complaint of discrimination. The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division found, based on the following investigation, that the company used a third-party based in India to identify candidates that met its client’s preferred citizenship or immigration statuses and then screen them. Further, the investigation discovered that the company distributed advertisements for positions that stated the client’s preferences for certain immigration and citizenship-based preferences.

As a result, the DOJ’s investigation determined that at least three U.S. workers were not considered for employment as a result of the company’s recruitment procedures when they applied to a posting that openly stated its preference for workers that possessed temporary employment-based visas. The DOJ additionally found that the company would routinely demand immigration documents from non-U.S citizen applicants during the recruitment process in order to continue.

According to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, “IT staffing agencies cannot unlawfully exclude applicants or impose additional burdens because of someone’s citizenship or immigration status.” This includes such practices as demanding documentation other than the minimum necessary to establish work authorization or in addition to what the employee provides.

These requirements are provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which protects U.S citizens, non-citizen nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees, and refugees from discrimination based on their citizenship or immigration status. These rules apply to both employers and recruiters if they implement an employer’s unlawful, discriminatory preferences based on citizenship or immigration status. In the INA, an employer or recruiter is only permitted to limit employment based upon citizenship or immigration status if it is required by law, government contract, executive order, or government regulation. Additionally, due to the fact that the Form I-9, employment eligibility verification, can only legally be completed after an employee is hired, the citizenship or immigration status of applicants must never be verified prior to employment.

Under the DOJ’s settlement with the employer, it will pay more than $15,000 in civil penalties and revise its policies and procedures to be compliant with the INA. It will also provide relevant employees training on the requirements of the INA and be subject to monitoring for the following three years.

One of the best ways to avoid many of the potential pitfalls related to the INA is to invest in an I-9 management system. This can guide employers through every step of the employment eligibility process and ensure compliance with the INA’s requirements.

When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.