DOJ Settles Citizenship Status Discrimination Case

DOJ Settles Citizenship Status Discrimination Case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement agreement with a Maryland-based staffing and recruitment company. According to the results, they addressed claims that the company committed violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The DOJ revealed that the company violated federal law by excluding certain non-U.S. citizens from job opportunities. 

The DOJ announced the results of its investigation into the staffing and recruitment company’s actions. According to the data, the company refused to refer, recruit, or hire non-U.S. citizens from April 2022 through July 2023. The DOJ also shared information from a client company that worked with the employer. 

Allegedly, the staffing company requested the non-U.S. citizen restriction on referring, recruiting, or hiring without a lawful basis. This request unlawfully discouraged lawful permanent residents, asylees, refugees, and non-citizen national workers from applying. These restrictions also created obstacles for those who still chose to apply. In these cases, it prevented such workers from advancing in the hiring process.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division explained, “Companies cannot unlawfully exclude all non-U.S. citizens with permission to work in the United States from job opportunities based on their citizenship status. The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those who engage in such behavior that violates our nation’s federal civil rights laws.”

The INA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin during the hiring process. These restrictions also include the firing and recruitment process. However, the INA offers a few exceptions for these processes.

According to the agreement between the DOJ and the employer, the latter will pay the U.S. government a $20,000 civil penalty. The employer must retrain its Human Resources, recruitment, and sales staff. This training includes their obligations under the INA’s anti-discrimination provisions. 

Furthermore, the employer must update all employment policies to comply with the INA’s requirements. They must also investigate any requirements by a client company regarding citizenship restrictions. Finally, they must allow legal counsel to review these requests to ensure legal justification when necessary.

Compliance with federal regulations such as the INA can prove complex for many employers. Many have found it particularly challenging to comply with the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. Automating the process with an electronic I-9 management system is one way to ensure compliance. This process can provide step-by-step instructions, digital storage for all relevant forms, and an option for E-Verify integration.

Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9Compliance.