Department of Justice Settles with Major Shipping Provider Over Claims of Immigration-Related Discrimination

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently announced that it has reached a settlement with one of the world’s largest transportation and logistics providers over claims of discrimination related to its completion of the I-9 process. The DOJ claims that the employer had violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by requesting documentation from the worker in addition to the minimum necessary documentation he had already submitted to meet the requirements for establishing his permission to work.

If these allegations are true, they will violate the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, which forbids employers from requesting more documentation than is necessary to establish their employment authorization as well as from specifying what documentation workers can provide due to their national origin, immigration status, or citizenship.

When establishing a worker’s employment authorization, they must allow submitting any valid combination of either one document from List A or one each from List B and List C in order to complete the employment eligibility process. [More]

According to the DOJ, the department’s investigation found that the employer had requested a Permanent Resident Card and “work visa” from a lawful permanent resident it had recently hired in Jacksonville, Florida, in order to establish his employment authorization status despite the fact that the employee had already provided them with a driver’s license and an unrestricted Social Security card which are enough to establish permission to work.

The employer did this in response to receiving a data entry error notification from the software used to access the E-Verify system. When responding to these errors when dealing with U.S. citizens in its employ, the company ordinarily would check to see if it was an error entering the data; however, in this case, the DOJ states that the company asked for additional documentation from the worker which would be discrimination under the INA.

The INA’s prohibitions on discrimination in hiring or firing processes on the basis of immigration status, citizenship, or national origin are enforced by the Employee Rights Section of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. According to the settlement, the employer will be subject to a civil penalty, continued monitoring by the DOJ, and be required to provide employees training on how to appropriately respond to data entry error notices.

As this case shows, no company is immune to making errors in completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification process. However, the best way to avoid these costly mistakes is by investing in an electronic I-9 management tool. This can help guide personnel through completing the process properly and ensure that documentation is stored properly for future review.

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