The Department of Justice (DOJ) has come to a settlement with a major clothing retailer concerning claims of violations of the discrimination law by the company. The company was accused of discriminating against some non-US workers. The discrimination claims against the company were for reverifying that certain employees had permission to work even though the company had no legal basis for doing so. The company also asked some employees that were not U.S. citizens to show documentation that indicated that they were authorized to work in the U.S. The DOJ discovered that the clothing retailer’s electronic human resource management system was part of the reason for the company’s discriminatory practices.
The company stated that it used an electronic human resource management system with I-9 functions that caused part of its problems. They claimed they no longer used the system and thought they were now in compliance with any requirements. However, the company will have to pay $73,00 in civil penalties as part of the settlement. Additionally, the clothing retailer will be required to ensure that any electronic programs it uses comply with any relevant rules, train its employees, and consent to be monitored, as well as comply with any reporting requirements. The company is also required to provide compensation to an asylee as well as a lawful permanent resident that lost their jobs due to this discrimination.
This settlement puts an end to a three and one-half year investigation of the clothing retailer. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing and claims that it did not violate the 1986 federal law banning immigration-related employment discrimination. This settlement occurred on the 35th anniversary of this law.
The DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section has settled over 100 cases that involve claims of discrimination or violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These cases resulted in many victims of discrimination receiving back pay.
This case shows the importance of complying with federal requirements when hiring foreign nationals. There are many regulations employers need to follow, and they can be difficult, but failure to comply can prove costly. Properly completing Form I-9 – Employment Eligibility Verification is particularly important. Employers are required to complete this form for all employees regardless of citizenship and immigration status. The best way to ensure this form is completed and stored in the required manner is by using a high-quality electronic I-9 management tool. This tool will help keep you in compliance through every step of the process.