The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it has settled with a Florida-based janitorial services provider based in Miami. This settlement removes the DOJ’s previous determination concerning an Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) violation. This violation specifically addressed the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.
According to Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke, “Employers cannot impose specific document requirements on workers to prove their permission to work that differ based on citizenship or immigration status. The department will not tolerate unlawful and discriminatory practices, which create unnecessary barriers to jobs for people who are just trying to make a living.”
The DOJ explained that it began its investigation on January 31, 2020. This investigation determined whether the company violated 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(1) or (a)(6). The first section bars employers from discriminating based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee; the second bars certain unfair documentary practices.
The DOJ’s investigation found reasonable cause concerning a pattern of unfair documentary practices discriminating against non-U.S. citizens. This pattern happened between January 1, 2019, and February 28, 2022. During this time, the employer routinely limited what lawful permanent residents and others could present as proof of work authorization. Meanwhile, they allowed U.S. citizens to choose what documents to submit for the Form I-9 process.
Under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6), employers cannot require more documentation than is required to complete the Form I-9. It also prohibits employers from demanding specific documentation. Instead, employers must honor any documentation an employee presents “that on their face reasonably appears to be genuine.”
Under the terms of this agreement, the employer must pay $140,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. government. It must also revise its policies and procedures to comply with the INA. In addition, the DOJ requires the company to provide additional training on the INA’s anti-discrimination requirements. Finally, the Florida-based janitorial services provider must undergo monitoring by the DOJ. This step is to ensure the company’s future compliance.
Employers should take note of this settlement and review their policies. It has proven crucial for employers to ensure that their employment eligibility verification process complies with related regulations. One way to ensure compliance is by using an electronic I-9 management system. This system can walk HR personnel through every step. Furthermore, it offers safe and accessible storage for forms and related documentation.
Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9Compliance.