DOJ Reaches Settlement Agreement With Major Shipping Company Over Immigration-Related Bias

DOJ Reaches Settlement Agreement With Major Shipping Company Over Immigration-Related Bias
October 5, 2023

A prominent shipping company has settled with the Department of Justice (DOJ). This agreement addresses claims of immigration-related bias against non-U.S. citizens who provided valid documentation. According to prosecutors, the shipping company refused to submit an application for a permanent resident. 

The application would have allowed the employee to obtain the airport badge they needed for work. The DOJ also alleged that the shipping company retaliated against the employee. According to the DOJ, the company fired the employee after complaining about being discriminated against.

In its investigation, the DOJ explained its discovery. The Department described how the shipping company routinely refused to accept valid documentation by non-U.S. citizen employees. This action has prevented many from acquiring needed airport badges. Furthermore, the DOJ found that the airport authority did not take the same steps against U.S. citizens.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division stated, “Employers cannot create unlawful barriers based on workers’ immigration status at any point during the hiring process. The Civil Rights Division will vigorously enforce the law to ensure employers conduct all parts of the hiring process fairly and that workers are not retaliated against for exercising their rights.” 

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) protects employees from hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral discrimination. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision also prevents retaliation. 

It states that “Employers of any size are not allowed to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or retaliate against individuals for filing charges with IER, cooperating with an IER investigation, opposing action that may constitute unfair documentary practices or discrimination based upon citizenship status, or national origin, or otherwise asserting their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.”  

Under the settlement, the employer must pay $98,883.53 in back and forward pay and associated benefits to the employee. It must also pay $8,930 in civil penalties to the U.S. government. In addition, the employer must train its staff on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

Furthermore, the settlement requires the employer to undergo DOJ monitoring and update its policies to comply with the INA. Such updates should “prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship, immigration status, and national origin (1) in the hiring, airport badging, and firing process; (2) during the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process; and (3) in the E-Verify process.”

This settlement has illustrated that compliance with federal documentation requirements can be challenging. This struggle has proven particularly true during the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9). Employers can ensure compliance by automating the process with an electronic I-9 management system. It provides step-by-step guidance and electronic storage for all forms and documentation.

Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.