Justice Department Settles With Nevada Medical Practice Over Allegations of National Origin Discrimination

January 3, 2023

The Justice Department has agreed to a settlement with a medical practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. The settlement resolves a national origin discrimination claim that the business terminated an employee because of her Mexican-American national origin. This termination violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The INA bans employers from discriminating against U.S. citizens or other employment-authorized individuals due to their national origin or citizenship status. Employers cannot consider the place of birth, native language, accent, or other national origin indicators when hiring, firing, recruiting, or referring for a fee.

The Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department said that firing an employee due to their nationality is not consistent with the ideals of our nation. She added that all workers have the right to fair treatment from their employers. Finally, the Assistant Attorney General emphasized the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to dealing with illegal discrimination in the workplace.

The Justice Department investigated and found that the medical practice had fired a high-performing employee because of the discriminatory bias of the other employees. First, the investigation found that the employee’s co-workers had spent months making derogatory comments and jokes about the worker’s Mexican heritage. Furthermore, the workers made a false claim against the employee based on stereotypes of people of her national origin to make her lose her job.

In March 2020, the medical practice acted on the co-worker’s claims and fired the employee without an investigation. The INA prohibits terminating a worker based on their national origin for employers with four to fourteen employees. Meanwhile, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans employers with fifteen or more employees from this type of discrimination.

The settlement requires the medical practice to pay the affected worker $42,000 and a civil penalty to the United States. The medical practice must also train its employees on the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA. In addition, it must revise its employment policies and undergo departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

As this settlement shows, the current administration continues investigating allegedly discriminatory practices that apply to all employers. For example, when hiring new employees, employers must complete Form I-9 to verify the individual’s authorization to work in the U.S. However, employers cannot request any specific documentation. Instead, they must accept any documentation the employee provides that satisfies the minimum documentation requirements and appears genuine.

The best way to comply with these requirements is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide employers through the entire process, ensure uniform completion, and safely and securely store the form and any accompanying documentation.

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