The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement agreement over discrimination in a trucking company’s employment eligibility verification (Form I -9) process. This company allegedly limited the documentation that non-US citizen workers could present to complete Form I-9. As a result, this settlement explicitly resolves these allegations.
The DOJ began its investigation in response to a complaint from a non-US citizen. This non-US citizen claimed that the employer would not accept valid documentation he provided as proof of his employment authorization. The DOJ’s investigation discovered that the company required lawful permanent residents to show permanent resident cards as proof of work authorization. Allegedly, the company requested this proof regardless of whether workers had already presented other valid documentation.
In addition, the DOJ found that the employer made workers submit their new permanent resident cards when the previous ones expired. However, Form I-9 compliance does not require recertification for lawful permanent residents. Therefore, once they have presented their documentation, it will never need to be renewed, regardless of the expiration date marked on the card.
Federal law permits workers to present valid documentation in the Lists of Acceptable Documents. They can find this list on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Website. Furthermore, the INA prohibits employers from requesting specific documentation based on an individual’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.
In many cases, non-US citizens may have access to and present the same documentation as US citizens. Such documents include driver’s licenses and unrestricted Social Security cards. As a result, employers must permit workers to submit any documentation which appears facially valid to complete the Form I-9’s documentation requirements.
The Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division spoke up on the matter. The general stated, “When employers reject workers’ valid documentation proving their permission to work and demand other types of documentation, they construct unnecessary hurdles that can mean the difference between a worker getting a job or not. Therefore, the Justice Department will continue to hold employers accountable for discriminating against workers because of citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.”
Under the terms of the DOJ’s settlement agreement, the trucking company will pay over $40,000 in civil penalties. Furthermore, the company must provide additional staff training regarding the INA’s anti-discrimination provisions, update their employment policies, and undergo additional departmental monitoring for two years.
As settlements like these show, Form I-9 can become a minefield of litigation for many employers. Moreover, with continuously shifting complex rules and regulations and the wide variety of documentation that employees can provide, it can be difficult for employers to keep up.
The best way to simplify this process and help ensure compliance is to invest in an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance through completing the process. It will also ensure the safe and convenient storage of forms and documentation.
When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.