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OSC TELEPHONE INTERVENTIONS

OSC Interventions: Refugee and Asylee Status

Fiscal year covers the period of October 1 thru September 30

Fiscal Year 2014

Houston, TX

On November 15, 2013, OSC intervened to save the job of an asylee. Upon initial hire when completing the Form I-9, the worker presented a driver's license and Form I-94 evidencing her asylee status and stating "asylum granted indefinitely." Her employer informed her that she needed to show a document with an expiration date or a green card, and terminated her when she could not provide this. OSC made immediate contact with the employer and, referencing the M-274, explained that the Form I-94 indicating indefinite asylee status is a valid List C document that does not expire. OSC further informed the employer that certain individuals have employment authorization that does not expire and should not be penalized for not providing an expiration date on the Form I-9. OSC stated that employers should not demand or specify certain documents that workers must provide during the employment eligibility verification process. The employer decided to immediately reinstate the worker.

Elkridge, MD

On November 26, 2013, OSC staff completed an intervention on behalf of a refugee resulting in the worker's receipt of full back-pay for at least six days of missed work. The refugee was hired during the week of November 18 at the Maryland facility of a large electronics and computer recycling facility. When the worker attempted to complete the Form I-9's Section 1, using the company's I-9 software, his documents were rejected, and he was unable to complete the process. HR employees attempted to bypass the problem, and eventually enlisted the help of a corporate HR manager. The worker called OSC and explained the situation. During the course of several days, OSC staff worked with the HR manager to educate the manager about the Form I-9 process. On November 26, 2013, the HR Manager called OSC staff to advise them that the worker had been reinstated with full back pay after the HR staff resolved the issues with the I-9 software.

Scarborough, ME

On December 30, 2013, OSC successfully assisted two African refugees whose employment was wrongfully terminated by a national retail store. The two refugees had initially provided foreign passports with I-94 stamps, which serve as acceptable List A documents for I-9 purposes. During reverification, the employer required that both workers show an unexpired Employment Authorization Card. They did not have that document, but both possessed an unrestricted Social Security card. The workers were not allowed to show a different document, and were terminated on Friday December 27, 2013. OSC called the employer and explained the proper reverification process for refugees. The store manager realized the mistake and contacted corporate HR. Corporate HR immediately reinstated the two individuals with full back-pay for the four shifts they missed.

Iowa City, IA

On January 9, 2014, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of a refugee. The worker had presented her EAD upon hire. When the worker's EAD expired, the employer requested that she provide an unexpired EAD. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC in turn called the employer and provided guidance on acceptable documents for Form I-9, explaining that a List C document, like an unrestricted Social Security card, is sufficient for reverification. The employer accepted the documentation from the worker and allowed the worker to resume her job.

Alexandria, VA

On January 14, 2014, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The worker presented her unexpired EAD upon hire; however, at the time of reverification, the worker had not received her new EAD. The employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from the worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer and educated the employer on the reverification process, explaining that the worker was not limited to presenting an unexpired EAD for reverification but could choose to present any List A or List C document. Consequently, the worker presented her unrestricted Social Security card for reverification. The employer decided to allow the worker to continue her employment without interruption.

Las Vegas, NV

On February 11, 2014, OSC assisted an asylee in having her airport badge restored, thereby allowing her to return to her job. The worker's employer is in an airport and in November 2013 her badge was suddenly revoked, preventing her from continuing to work. Eventually, USCIS referred the worker to OSC, and an OSC staff member reached out to the airport badging office and subsequently to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). TSA was able to confirm the worker's continued asylum status and she was immediately issued a new badge allowing her to return to work.

Washington, DC

On February 26, 2014, OSC saved the job of an asylee, who was told that he would not be able to continue his employment at a store in Regan National Airport after March 1, 2014. The asylee originally presented an EAD for initial employment eligibility verification to his employer and to the badging office for badging purposes. The worker was told by his employer that upon the EAD's expiration he would need to present another immigration document. The worker was in the process of applying for his permanent residency and did not have another EAD or permanent resident card to present when his EAD expired. An OSC attorney called the badging office and the airport attorney, both of whom claimed that the Transportation Security Administration uses Form I-9 requirements for badging purposes and that a new immigration document must be presented after the one originally presented expires. The OSC attorney educated both parties on the significance of an unrestricted Social Security card and the fact that non-U.S. citizens can also obtain permanent work authorization. The badgeing office agreed to reissue the asylee's badge, thereby preventing him from missing work.

Fiscal Year 2013

Atlanta, GA

On October 2, 2012, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee. The asylee began employment by presenting an unexpired EAD; upon reverification, the worker presented his I-94, stamped with indefinite asylum status, along with an unexpired driver's license. However, the employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from the worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer's HR representative and educated the representative about proper reverification procedures, and explained that an employer cannot specify which document(s) a worker may present for reverification purposes. The worker was reinstated immediately.

Boston, MA

On November 8, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee. The worker's employer requested an unexpired EAD from him for I-9 purposes, even though the worker presented an unexpired driver's license and an unrestricted Social Security card along with his expired EAD. OSC contacted the HR manager to discuss acceptable documents for I-9 purposes and the work authorization rights of asylees. The HR representative accepted the explanation and allowed the worker to begin employment.

Newark, DE

On November 9, 2012, OSC saved the job of an asylee worker. The employer, a national retail chain, demanded that the worker present her Permanent Resident Card, in addition to her driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card that she had already provided in order to complete her Form I-9. OSC contacted the employer's legal counsel, who agreed that the worker should not have been required to provide her Permanent Resident Card because she had already provided her driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card for I-9 purposes. The employer was grateful for OSC's guidance, and allowed the employee to work.

Oakland, IA

On November 27, 2012, OSC completed a hotline intervention assisting a refugee to get back to work after his I-94 expired. The worker was let go in October 2012, when he did not provide a new I-94 or a List C document in the employment eligibility re-verification process. OSC explained to the worker that he could have shown his unrestricted Social Security Card, however he did not. OSC contacted the employer which allowed the worker to show his valid work authorization. The employee presented a new I-94 and the company brought back the worker and completed the Form I-9 process and E-Verify process, so the worker could return to work.

Orlando, FL

On November 29, 2012, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The asylee presented his unexpired EAD upon hire; upon expiration, for reverification purposes, the asylee presented his I-94 along with an unexpired driver's license. However, the employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from the worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the HR representative to educate the employer on proper reverification procedures. The HR representative accepted the explanation and the worker was allowed to remain on the job uninterrupted.

Baltimore, MD

On December 7, 2012, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee by assisting him in obtaining a required license. The refugee had attempted to obtain his professional driver's license to begin working as a cab driver; however, the state agency insisted on seeing a Permanent Resident Card or an Employment Authorization Card. The refugee called OSC. OSC contacted the agency and explained that the refugee's Form I-94 was sufficient to establish his work authorization. The agency accepted the explanation and granted the professional driver's license to the refugee, allowing him to work in his occupation.

Columbia, MD

On December 27, 2012 OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The asylee presented his unexpired Employment Authorization Card upon hiring; however, during reverification, the asylee presented his I-94 stamped with unexpired work authorization, along with an unexpired driver's license. The employer improperly insisted on obtaining a new EAD from worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the company's HR representative and educated the company on the reverification process. The HR representative accepted the explanation and the worker was allowed to remain on the job uninterrupted.

San Jose, CA

On February 12, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of a refugee. The refugee was offered a job but in the process of filling out Section 1 of the Form I-9, he did not know how to complete the field calling for an expiration date of his status. The employer told the worker that he must have an expiration date. The refugee called OSC, and OSC contacted the employer to explain that refugees and asylees are authorized to work incident to their immigration status. Based on the I-9 rules and referring to the M-274 Handbook for Employers, OSC advised that a refugee or asylee should write "N/A" on the line calling for an expiration date. The employer stated that worker will be allowed to begin work immediately.

Miami, FL

On March 5, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention, saving the job of an asylee. The asylee presented his unexpired EAD for I‐9 purposes when he was first hired; subsequently, during reverification, the asylee presented his I-94 along with and an unexpired driver's license. However, the employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from the worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer and educated the employer on the reverification process. The employer accepted the explanation and the worker was allowed to remain on the job uninterrupted.

Millsboro, DE

On March 8, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The asylee presented his unexpired EAD upon hire; however, it expired a month later and during reverification, the employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from the worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer and explained proper reverification procedures, including that for reverification a worker can present any List A or List C document of his or her choice. Consequently, the asylee was allowed to present his I-94. The employer accepted the documentation from the worker and allowed the worker to remain on the job uninterrupted.

Atlanta, GA

On April 29, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of a refugee. The worker presented his driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card upon hire; however, the employer requested to see his EAD. Because the worker's EAD had expired, the employer requested that he provide an unexpired EAD. The worker contacted OSC's hotline; OSC in turn called employer and educated the employer about acceptable documents for Form I-9, explaining that a combination of an unexpired List B document along with a List C document is sufficient to establish identification and work authorization. The employer accepted OSC's explanation and the documentation from the worker, and allowed the worker to start the job immediately.

New Bedford, MA

On April 29, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The worker presented his unexpired EAD upon hire; however, at the time of reverification, the worker had not renewed the EAD. The employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC then called the employer and educated the employer about the reverification process, explaining that the worker had other options for the reverification process and was not limited to presenting an unexpired EAD. Consequently, the worker returned and presented his unrestricted Social Security card. The employer accepted the worker's documentation and allowed the worker to remain on the job uninterrupted.

Frisco, TX

On May 7, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of a refugee. The worker presented his unexpired EAD for initial verification; however, at the time of reverification, the worker had not renewed his EAD and the employer insisted that the worker present a new unexpired EAD. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer and educated the employer on the reverification process, explaining that the worker can choose to present any List A or any List C document for reverification. The refugee had an unrestricted Social Security card, which is a List C document. The employer accepted the unrestricted Social Security card for reverification purposes and allowed worker to remain on the job uninterrupted.

Arlington, TX

On May 20, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention, saving the job of a refugee. The refugee presented his EAD upon hiring; however, during reverification the employer requested to see his new EAD. The refugee's EAD had expired and he had not renewed it but he had an unrestricted Social Security card. The worker contacted OSC's hotline; OSC in turn called the employer and educated the employer about acceptable documents for reverification purposes, explaining that a List C document (Social Security card) is sufficient to establish work authorization. The employer accepted the documentation from the worker and allowed the worker to continue with employment.

Richmond, VA

On August 5, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The asylee presented his unexpired EAD upon hire; however, at the time of reverification, the worker had not renewed the EAD. The employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer and educated the employer about the reverification process, explaining that worker had other options for documents to present during the reverification process and was not limited to present a new unexpired EAD. Consequently, the asylee was able to present his unrestricted Social Security card. The employer accepted OSC's explanation and the documentation from the worker and allowed the worker to remain on the job uninterrupted.

Chicago, IL

On August 26, 2013, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of a refugee. The refugee presented her expired EAD upon hire. The employer rejected the expired document and asked if the worker could present her I-94 and passport because the worker had marked the box for "Alien Authorized to Work" and the employer was an E-Verify user. The worker called her refugee employment coordinator, who, in turn called OSC. OSC learned that the refugee had a valid driver's license and an unrestricted Social Security card. OSC called the employer and educated the employer on acceptable documents for Form I-9 and also explained that an acceptable document from List B containing a photo could also be used to run the E-Verify query. The employer accepted the documentation from the worker and allowed the worker to continue with employment.

Baltimore, MD

On September 3, 2013, an OSC attorney saved the job of an asylee who was required to present a DHS-issued document as a condition of hire at an elder-care center. The asylee had a valid State ID and unrestricted Social Security card, but was told she could not start work unless she provided an EAD or other DHS-issued document. The asylee's case manager called OSC, and an OSC attorney called the employer. The OSC attorney explained that the employer was not allowed to specify which documents the worker could provide from the Form I-9's List of Acceptable Documents, and the worker was immediately rehired.

Fiscal Year 2012

Sacramento, CA

On October 3, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee. The worker's employer requested an unexpired EAD from the worker after the EAD on file had expired. The worker presented an unexpired driver's license and an unrestricted Social Security card, but the employer insisted on obtaining a renewed EAD. OSC contacted the human resources manager to discuss reverification options for a refugee and directed him to the USCIS Employer Handbook (M-274), which states that reverification can be satisfied by presenting an unrestricted Social Security card for this case. The HR manager accepted the explanation and allowed the worker to return to work immediately.

Longwood, FL

On October 12, 2011, OSC saved the jobs of two asylees who were going to be terminated from their jobs due to the expiration of their EADs. OSC explained to the employer that the employees were authorized incident to their status and could work because they had other documents that established their identity and continued work authorization. The employer was excited to learn that it did not need to terminate its workers, and was grateful for the guidance.

Silver Spring, MD

On October 14, 2011, OSC successfully intervened to ensure that an asylee from Guatemala would receive a check stub. The worker recently started working at a national restaurant chain. His first pay check was printed on a corporate check that appeared different from his co-workers' checks; there was no stub showing his hours worked, gross pay or deductions. His co-workers assumed he was undocumented, because it appeared he was being paid off the payroll. The worker's second paycheck was in the form of a money order, and he contacted OSC out of concern. When OSC intervened, we discovered that the software used by the restaurant chain did not recognize the worker's valid SSN because it was a number that could not be issued prior to June 2011 (his SSN begins with "8"). The employer ensured OSC it would solve the problem immediately, and provided the worker with an itemized list of year-to-date earnings and deductions.

Dallas, TX

On October 20, 2011, an OSC attorney successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee. The employer and worker jointly contacted OSC's worker hotline to report that the worker's EAD had expired and he would be unable to obtain a renewal EAD until November 2011. The worker had an unrestricted Social Security card and an I-94 card. The OSC attorney explained that refugees, like citizens and LPRs, are work authorized incident to their status and the employer could accept the worker's Social Security card. The employer allowed the worker to continue his employment.

Fort Worth, TX

On Friday, October 21, 2011, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the jobs of seven refugees from Nepal, Burma and Sudan who have EADs but have not yet received Social Security numbers. They began their employment with a temporary agency, but were suspended without pay because the employer did not know how to process payroll without a Social Security number. OSC called the employer to explain refugees have the right to work. Furthermore, the refugees should be put back to work in order to prevent the employer from facing a charge of citizenship status discrimination. The employer agreed to reinstate the seven refugees.

Austin, TX

On November 1, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention, saving the job of an Ethiopian asylee. The asylee was unable to obtain a security guard license because the state licensing agency did not fully understand the employment eligibility verification process. Last year, the Texas legislature amended the licensing requirements to include "work authorization cards" from "nonresident alien" applicants. OSC explained to an attorney for the agency that the applicant's asylee status authorizes him to work indefinitely and, therefore, the asylee does not need a current EAD in order to work. Instead, for employment eligibility verification purposes, he may present his unrestricted Social Security card or his asylee I-94 Admission record. The attorney reported that he will advise the agency to issue the individual a security guard license, and possibly update the rule to require "proof of work authorization."

Grand Rapids, MI

On November 2, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee from Ethiopia. Her EAD expired and the staffing agency that employs her told her she would need to produce a renewed EAD within three days or lose her job. OSC called the employer's corporate office and directed the representative to Question 29 of the I-9 Handbook for Employers (M-274). The employer learned that the worker's unrestricted Social Security card is an acceptable document to prove continued employment eligibility, and the worker remains employed.

Secaucus, NJ

On November 8, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and allowed an asylee to be hired by a national department store. A refugee service provider called OSC to inform us that the store's background check provider was rejecting the refugee's Social Security number (SSN). In fact, the background check stated the number "either has not been issued, or was issued after June, 2011." The asylee's SSN was issued after June, 2011, so the store should not have interpreted that message to mean the worker's number was not valid. When OSC spoke to corporate counsel for the store, counsel agreed to change the policy of rejecting any workers who have newly issued SSNs, because of that policy's adverse effect on newly arrived, work-authorized non-citizens. The worker has now been hired.

Costa Mesa, CA

On November 8, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention for a worker at a department store, whose SSN was also tagged as "either not issued, or issued after June, 2011." This worker is a refugee from Iran, and OSC learned about her situation from a refugee services provider in California. The worker has also been hired and will attend a new employee orientation on November 10, 2011.

Rockville, MD

On January 10, 2012, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. When the local human resources representative of the national retail chain noticed the employee checked the box "alien authorized to work" on his Form I-9, she insisted he present an EAD. The worker explained that his unrestricted Social Security card is ample proof of his work authorization, and that his Maryland driver's license proves his identity. However, the worker was required to show his EAD but was then prevented from working because his EAD is expired. OSC contacted counsel for the employer, and the worker was allowed to return to work. The employer promised to pay the worker $190 in backpay for the three shifts he missed due to the rejection of his valid I-9 documents.

Harrisburg, PA

On January 24, 2012, OSC completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a Nepalese refugee. The refugee's employer, a staffing company, said it was going to terminate her because her EAD was about to expire. Her refugee employment services caseworker called OSC, and we called the employer to explain that refugees do not lose the right to work when their EADs expire, and the employer must accept the worker's unrestricted Social Security card as proof of continuing employment eligibility for reverification purposes. The staffing agency agreed to allow the refugee to continue in employment.

Maplewood, MN

On February 9, 2012, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of a Zambian asylee who presented an unrestricted Social Security card and Minnesota driver's license for verification of his employment eligibility. The employer rejected these documents because it believed non-citizens needed to show documents from DHS. OSC called the employer and explained that the practice of requiring additional documents from non-citizens could be considered an unfair documentary practice (document abuse). The employer decided to accept the documents and hire the worker.

Ft. Morgan, CO

On February 14, 2012, OSC saved the job of a refugee as the result of a successful intervention. A refugee resettlement agency called the OSC worker hotline on behalf of the refugee to report that the refugee was not permitted to begin work despite producing his state identification and unrestricted Social Security card, after he mistakenly included a past expiration date of his EAD on the Form I-9. OSC contacted the employer and explained that state identification and an unrestricted Social Security card are sufficient to establish work authorization on a prospective basis, and further advised the refugee resettlement agency that refugees should indicate on the Form I-9 that their work authorization does not expire. In response, the employer called the refugee to process his new hire paperwork.

Dallas, TX

On March 14, 2012, OSC saved the job of an Ethiopian refugee as the result of a successful intervention. An employment services supervisor in a refugee resettlement agency called OSC to complain that the employer, a home health agency, terminated the worker because he did not have a current DHS document. OSC explained that for reverification, employees may present any document from List A or List C of the Lists of Acceptable Documents for the Form I-9. The employer decided to accept the worker's unrestricted Social Security card (a List C document) and allowed the worker to continue in his employment.

Chula Vista, CA

On April 3, 2012, OSC successfully assisted a refugee with securing employment after the employer rejected his Form I-94 and asked for a Permanent Resident Card. The OSC attorney explained to the employer that a Form I-94 refugee admission stamp was an acceptable Form I-9 document, and the individual was permitted to begin work.

Salisbury, MD

On June 15, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention allowing a Haitian asylee to be hired for a position at a chicken processing plant. The Haitian had been hired for a position but during the I-9 employment verification process she produced her passport with a stamp indicating she is employment authorized. The employer thought that the stamp date on the passport was an expiration date and did not understand that the date in the passport was the date she entered the country. The worker was scheduled for the next orientation class.

Oakland, CA

On June 26, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee from Eritrea when his employer requested that he produce a "green card" (Permanent Resident Card or Form I-551) to continue his employment after his I-94 work permit expired. OSC explained to the employer that requesting specific documents, such as a green card, just because an employee is a non-citizen could violate the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. As a result, the employee was allowed to present his unrestricted Social Security card to show his continued employment eligibility and was permitted to continue to work.

Bowie, MD

On July 23, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention allowing a Cameroonian asylee to return to his employment with a janitorial services company. The worker told OSC he was suspended after his EAD expired, and that he had shown the employer his unrestricted Social Security card as proof of his right to continue working. OSC contacted the employer and explained the worker had the right to choose to present any document from List A or List C of the I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents. The employer agreed to allow the worker to return to his position immediately.

Dallas, TX

On July 24, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention allowing a refugee from Cuba to continue working after his employer improperly suspended him after he presented expired documents. The worker indicated in Section 1 of the I-9 form that he is an "alien authorized to work," and left the expiration date next to the box blank since he is a refugee authorized to work indefinitely. When completing section 2 of the Form I-9, the human resources representative recorded the worker's Texas Driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card as proof of his identity and right to work. Because the company used E-Verify, it needed the worker's alien number to run the E-Verify query but the worker had failed to write his A number down in section 1, and he was asked to correct Section 1. The worker showed both his I-94 departure record attached to his expired Cuban passport, and his expired EAD, both of which contained his A number. When the employer noticed the documents were expired, it terminated his employment and told him he could reapply when he had a current DHS document. OSC informed the employer that although the worker was obliged to write his A number in Section 1, he was not required to provide a current DHS document that contained the A number, since all workers have a right to choose which documents to present. The employer agreed to immediately reinstate the worker and pay him $450 for the five days of work he missed.

Holland, MI

On July 30, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a Burmese refugee. The worker was terminated from his position as a dishwasher in a senior residence facility because his EAD had expired, even though he also presented an unrestricted Social Security card when he was initially hired. After OSC consulted with the local HR manager and the national HR manager, the worker was reinstated with four days of back pay.

San Diego, CA

On August 29, 2010, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee. The worker applied for employment with a large national company. When he presented his unexpired driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card, the HR representative requested to see an EAD, which the worker presented; however, the card was expired. The worker contacted OSC's hotline, and OSC called the HR representative and educated the company about the list of acceptable documents. The HR representative accepted the explanation and stated that worker would be asked to begin work immediately.

Alexandria, VA

On September 14, 2012, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee. The refugee's employer, a major national retailer, requested an unexpired EAD from the worker during the reverification process, even though the worker presented an unexpired driver's license and an unrestricted Social Security card along with her expired EAD. OSC contacted the HR manager and explained the reverification process, which allows an authorized worker to present an unrestricted Social Security card for reverification purposes. The worker was allowed to continue with her employment.

San Diego, CA

On September 17, 2012, OSC intervened on behalf of an Iraqi national, a recently arrived refugee, and saved her job. The employee presented a valid EAD for the I-9 Form Employment Eligibility Verification process. The employer accepted the document; however, it rescinded its employment offer because it could not verify the worker's Social Security number and perform a background check. OSC contacted the employer and explained that because the worker has only resided in the country since July 9, 2012, SSA could only verify Social Security numbers issued before June 24, 2011. As a result of OSC's intervention, the employer agreed to hire the Iraqi national.

San Francisco, CA

On September 18, 2012, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The worker presented his I-94 during the I-9 process; however, the employer, a national food chain, requested to see an EAD from the worker. The worker contacted OSC's hotline. OSC called the employer's human resources representative and its legal counsel, and educated them about acceptable documents for I-9 purposes. The employer decided to hire the worker immediately.

Fiscal Year 2011

New York, NY

On October 6, 2010, OSC successfully conducted a telephone intervention allowing an asylee to begin training and to continue with the hiring process. The asylee was conditionally hired by an air carrier on September 20, 2010. At that time, the asylee completed new hire paperwork, including a Security Threat Assessment and the Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification. For Form I-9 purposes, the asylee presented his driver’s license, unrestricted Social Security card, Form I-94, and foreign passport. The employer delayed processing the asylee’s new hire paperwork because she was concerned that the asylee “need[ed] a visa, anything from Immigration.” We explained to the employer that the asylee had presented sufficient documentation for the Form I-9, and that there should be no delay in his hiring. The employer then contacted the worker to begin training immediately with further employment conditioned on passing the Security Threat Assessment.

Greer, SC

On November 19, 2010, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention to save the job of an asylee. The worker had an EAD that expired on November 17, 2010. Upon Form I-9 reverification, the asylee presented an I-94 stamped with asylee status, which is valid indefinitely. The employer told the worker that she needed to present an unexpired EAD or a document from List B and one from List C. The worker contacted OSC, and we in turn called an HR representative for the company and educated her on the reverification process, explaining that a valid I-94 stamped for asylum and granted indefinitely serves as a list C document, the only requirement under the reverification process. The HR representative accepted the explanation and stated that worker would be reinstated immediately.

Boston, MA

On December 10, 2010, OSC saved the job of an asylee who works for a hotel. When he began working for the hotel, the asylee presented an EAD valid for two years, unrestricted Social Security card, and a Massachusetts driver’s license. However, when the asylee’s EAD was about to expire, the employer informed him that he would have to present an unexpired EAD in order to remain employed. We called the hotel to explain that employers must accept an asylee’s unrestricted Social Security card as proof of work authorization. The hotel then permitted the asylee to continue working.

Bellevue, WA

On December 15, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention enabling an Ethiopian refugee to begin working at a national restaurant chain that employs over 125,000 workers. Although the worker presented an EAD, which is sufficient proof of his right to work, he was told he could not begin working until he receives a Social Security number. A representative of the refugee services agency assisting the worker contacted OSC about the problem. We called the company’s headquarters and explained that workers with unexpired EADs must be allowed to work even if they do not yet possess a Social Security number. The employer indicated that the worker would begin working immediately.

Bethesda, MD

On January 4, 2011, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee from Togo who works for a national supermarket chain.   The worker’s EAD expired and the employer told him he could no longer work unless he presented a renewed EAD.  The employee presented his I-94 and unrestricted Social Security card, each of which is sufficient to prove an individual’s work authorization.   We contacted the employer and educated it about documents that asylees may present to prove work authorization, and the worker returned to work the same afternoon. 

Miami, FL

On January 6, 2011, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention, saving the job of an asylee.  The worker began employment with a health care provider by presenting an unexpired EAD.  However, upon reverification, the asylee presented an unrestricted Social Security card and an unexpired driver’s license.  The employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from the worker.  We called the employer and educated it about the reverification process.  The employer  indicated that the worker would be reinstated immediately.

Washington, DC

On February 28, 2011, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee.  The asylee began employment by presenting an unexpired EAD.  However, upon reverification, the asylee presented an unrestricted Social Security card and an unexpired driver’s license.  When the  employer insisted on obtaining a new EAD from worker,  the worker contacted a law firm, which in turn contacted the OSC hotline.  We called the employer and educated it about the reverification process.  The employer then stated that worker would be reinstated immediately and paid $1,295 in lost wages. 

Overland Park, KS

On March 7, 2011, OSC successfully resolved a telephone intervention and assured that an asylee from Pakistan will keep his job and be allowed to renew his driver’s license.  He asylee’s employer had informed him that he would not be able to work after the expiration of his EAD on March 25, 2011.  When we explained to the employer that the asylee’s unrestricted Social Security card is proof of his work authorization for I-9 purposes, the employer allow him to continue to work.  Meanwhile, an examiner at the Motor Vehicle Division of the Kansas Department of Revenue informed the worker he would not be able to renew his driver’s license upon expiration of his EAD.  We contacted an attorney for the Kansas Department of Revenue and provided him with copies of the worker’s documents.  The attorney ran a SAVE inquiry and then issued a letter to the worker that the worker can present in order to receive a standard driver’s license valid for six years, instead of the one-year “temporary” license issued to those holders of EADs who are not authorized to work indefinitely. 

Silver Spring, MD

On April 20, 2011, OSC completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee from Cameroon.  He was in the process of being hired at a retail clothing store when he presented documents for the Form I-9, including his unrestricted Social Security card and Maryland state identification card.  Although it was not necessary, he also showed his EAD, which had already expired.  The human resources representative told him he would not be able to start working until he received a new EAD.  We called the employer and explained that the worker had presented adequate documentation for Form I-9 purposes.   The employer called the worker and has put him on the work schedule. 

Oklahoma City, OK

On April 22, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an Iraqi refugee.  The worker’s employer, a national retail chain, told him he would have to present a new EAD by May 3, 2011, when his current EAD expires, or face termination.  We explained to the employer that all employees have the right to choose which document to present to prove their continued work authorization for reverification purposes.  We also explained that every refugee is entitled to an unrestricted Social Security card and may present that card, or any document from List A or List C of the I-9 Lists of Acceptable documents for reverification purposes upon expiration of the EAD initially presented. 

Plano, TX

On April 26, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a Sudanese refugee.  During an audit of its I-9 forms, the employer—an assisted living facility—realized it had not correctly recorded information about the worker’s documents in Section 2 of her I-9 form.  The employer wrongly informed the worker that she would need to present a current Permanent Resident Card.  We explained to the employer that all workers have a choice of which documents to present to prove their identity and work authorization, and that non-citizens are not required to present DHS-issued documents if they have unrestricted Social Security cards.  The employer decided to allow the worker to remain working after she presented her unrestricted Social Security card and Texas driver’s license. 

Lexington, NV

On June 8, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention on behalf of a Somali refugee by educating an employer about how to avoid unlawful citizenship status discrimination.  The employer informed the worker that she would have to present a renewed EAD for reverification purposes because the EAD the worker presented at initial hire would shortly expire. OSC informed the employer that she must allow the worker to present any acceptable document the worker chose to present (such as an unrestricted social security card) to prove continued work authorization. The employer stated that she would allow the worker to do so.

Baltimore, MD

On June 9, 2011, OSC intervened to allow a Sudanese asylee to renew his driver’s license and keep his part-time job that includes driving duties.  The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) only issues one-year licenses to refugees and asylees, although the REAL ID Act allows states to issue permanent (five-year) licenses to drivers with these immigration statuses.  An agency that provides services to refugees called OSC to report that one of its clients was unable to renew his driver’s license.  His I-94 Admission Record showed he was an asylee, but the MVA representatives told him he would not be able to renew his license until he became a lawful permanent resident.  OSC made several calls to the MVA field office and headquarters to explain that the I-94 is proof of an asylee’s authorization to work indefinitely, which resulted in the MVA processing a one-year license renewal. 

Rockville, MD

On June 24, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee.  At the time of hire, the worker presented an unexpired driver’s license, an unrestricted Social Security card and an expired EAD.  The refugee’s employer, a major national retailer, rejected the expired EAD and demanded that the worker present an unexpired EAD in order to enter the EAD expiration date into the automated I-9 program it uses.  OSC contacted the human resources manager as well as an individual in corporate headquarters in order to clarify that refugees and asylees do not have to enter document expiration dates in section one of the I-9 form.  The representative in corporate headquarters discovered that the company’s I-9 software has a field for indicating the worker’s refugee or asylee status, and also determined that the selection of asylee or refugee status enables the I-9 software to complete the process without the need for an expiration date.  The worker was allowed to return to work immediately.

St. Louis, MO

On June 30, 2011, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of a Cuban refugee.  When the refugee attempted to register with a staffing agency, he was accompanied by a friend, also a refugee, who had an EAD.  The friend was allowed to register, but since the refugee only had an unrestricted Social Security card and a state identification card, he was told he would need to wait until he received an EAD.  A refugee service provider called OSC, and OSC explained to the owner of the staffing agency that rejecting valid I-9 documents based on a person’s immigration status could constitute document abuse.  The staffing agency’s president decided to allow the worker to register, and promised to provide additional training to his staff. 

Indianapolis, IN

On July 11, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee from Zimbabwe. The worker’s employer had requested that she provide an EAD for I-9 purposes although she had already provided a driver’s license and Social Security card.  The worker also presented her I-94 departure record that shows she is an asylee with indefinite employment authorization, but the employer similarly rejected that document.  OSC explained to the employer that requesting specific documents, such as EADs, just because an employee is a non-citizen could violate the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The employer agreed to allow the worker to continue in her employment. 

Akron, OH

On August 24, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a Burmese refugee. When the employment specialist from the refugee resettlement agency learned there were positions available at a staffing agency, she attempted to complete the agency's electronic application on behalf of the refugee. The application program rejected the refugee's Social Security number ("SSN") as invalid, preventing the refugee from completing the application. OSC explained to the staffing agency that two months ago, SSA made several changes to the manner in which it assigns SSNs. Not only are numbers no longer assigned according to the location of the office issuing the SSN, but also, some numbers that could not be assigned in the past are now being assigned; in particular, numbers beginning with the digit "8." The application software was rejecting the refugee's SSN because it began with an 8. OSC spoke to counsel for the staffing agency and counsel decided to advise his client to allow the refugee to apply in person. The software has since been corrected and the refugee has been placed on an assignment.

St. Louis, MO

On September 2, 2011, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and facilitated the granting of a taxicab license to a refugee from Somalia. When the worker's EAD expired, the taxi commission refused to issue him a standard one‐year license renewal unless he presented a renewed EAD. OSC explained to the commission that refugees remain employment authorized even after their EADs expire as their employment authorization is indefinite. The commission then decided to grant the refugee a standard one‐year taxicab license.

Fiscal Year 2010

Nashville, TN

On October 28, 2009, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee. For employment eligibility verification (form I-9) purposes, the asylee presented an unrestricted Social Security card. However, the employer believed that it could not accept the card because the worker is not a U.S. citizen or LPR. We explained that asylees, like citizens and LPRs, are work authorized incident to their status and provided the employer with educational materials. The employer agreed to accept the worker’s Social Security card and allowed the worker to continue her employment.

Washington, DC

On November 6, 2009, an OSC attorney successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee, who is a Sierra Leone national. The worker, who works for a transit agency, contacted OSC’s worker hotline and informed the OSC attorney that his employer was conducting a Form I-9 audit. The worker presented an unrestricted Social Security card but was told that he needed to present a List A document because he is neither a U.S. citizen nor a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The OSC attorney contacted the employer and explained to the employer that asylees, like citizens and LPRs, are work authorized incident to their status. The employer agreed to accept the worker’s Social Security card and allowed the worker to continue his employment.

Wellesley, MA

On November 10, 2009, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a Burmese refugee. The refugee was working as a supermarket cashier until she was terminated due to the expiration of her Employment Authorization Card (EAD). A refugee services agency called OSC after unsuccessfully trying to explain to the employer that refugees are employment authorized incident to their status as refugees, and they do not need to possess an unexpired EAD from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); rather they may present unrestricted Social Security cards as proof of their work authorization. OSC contacted the employer, highlighting portions of the USCIS Handbook for Employers that pertained to refugee employment eligibility. The supermarket called the employee and offered her job back.

Philadelphia, PA

On November 12, 2009, an OSC attorney intervened on behalf of a refugee and saved her job. The individual had a driver's license and an unrestricted social security card, but the employer stated that it could not hire her unless she presented a "green card" (Permanent Resident Card). The OSC attorney contacted the employer and explained that the combination of a driver's license and unrestricted social security card suffices to establish both identity and employment authorization; no additional documentation is needed. The employer then allowed the individual to work.

Las Vegas, NV

On December 1, 2009, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an Ethiopian refugee. The worker showed her employer an employment authorization document (EAD) that was about to expire a few days after her projected start date. When the employer insisted on seeing a renewed EAD, the worker also furnished an unrestricted Social Security card and I-94 with a refugee stamp, which are both List C documents that evidence employment eligibility. However, the employer continued to insist that the worker present a renewed EAD. OSC contacted counsel for the employer, a hotel and casino chain, and explained that refugees may present unrestricted Social Security cards both during initial verification and re-verification of employment eligibility. The employer agreed to accept the documents and permit the refugee to begin work.

New York, NY

On December 30, 2009, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention, enabling an asylee to begin working. The asylee called OSC concerned that his new employer requested to see additional documents, even though the asylee had already presented his unrestricted Social Security card and driver’s license. Furthermore, the employer requested the documents before offering the job to the asylee, stating that she felt it necessary to take precautionary measures because she had never before hired an asylee. OSC called the employer to explain that asylees are work authorized incident to status and that employers can only demand to see documents during the I-9 process–after a job offer has been made. The asylee is now working.

New York, NY

On January 11, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an asylee. When originally hired, the worker had not yet been granted asylum and presented an Employment Authorization Document issued by DHS that contained an expiration date. Upon the expiration of the EAD, the employer initiated the reverification process and demanded that the worker—who had since been granted asylum—present a new, unexpired Employment Authorization Document. Instead, the worker presented his unrestricted Social Security card (which he obtained upon attaining asylee status). The employer refused to accept the unrestricted Social Security card and fired the worker. An OSC staff member called the employer and explained that all employees must be allowed to choose any document from either List A or List C for reverification purposes, and that since asylees are work authorized incident to status, they often possess unrestricted Social Security cards. In response, the employer offered to rehire the asylee.

Temple Hills, MD

On January 20, 2010, OSC completed a telephone intervention that allowed a Cameroonian asylee to return to his job as a security guard. He is licensed as a security guard in the District of Columbia but his employer encouraged him to apply for a security guard license from the Maryland State Police (MSP). The MSP license application states non-citizens must provide a copy of their “Employment Authorization Card.” Since the worker’s card had expired, he sent copies of several other documents he believed proved he was authorized to work, most of which were not from the Form I-9 lists of acceptable documents. MSP rejected the application, which caused the employer to fire the asylee. When we contacted the MSP about the matter, it explained that it had asked the employer to re-submit the application with documents from the I-9 lists, but that the employer failed to re-submit the application. OSC explained to the employer that the asylee has sufficient documents to prove his employment eligibility (an unrestricted Social Security card and Maryland ID card) and that the employer’s failure to re-submit the application caused the worker to lose several weeks of work. The employer indicated that it would re-submit the MSP license application and placed the worker on an assignment in Washington DC, where he is currently working until he receives a badge from MSP.

Albany, NY

On January 26, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and assisted a Nepalese refugee apply for a housekeeping job with a hotel group. The hotel group conducts a background check on all applicants. The worker’s background check results stated the worker’s Social Security Number “has not been issued by the SSA.” The worker had not yet been hired, so she had not filled out an I-9 form or presented documents; she did, however, possess a Social Security card and included her Social Security number on her application. The refugee service provider charged with finding the worker employment called OSC and explained that several other refugees have similarly been rejected by this hotel group. We contacted the employer, and the background check company subsequently acknowledged to the employer that its Social Security information was not up to date and that the worker’s application should not have been rejected. As a result, the employer agreed not only to interview the worker but also to refrain from making employment decisions based on reports that Social Security numbers have not been issued, without first following up with the employee and/or the refugee service provider.

St. Joseph, MI

On January 26, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of a refugee. When originally hired, the worker presented an employment authorization document (EAD) that was issued by DHS and contained an expiration date. Upon the expiration of the EAD, the employer initiated the reverification process and demanded that the worker present a new, unexpired EAD. The employer refused to accept the unrestricted Social Security card presented by the refugee and fired the worker. We called the employer and explained that an unrestricted social security card is acceptable documentation to reverify a worker’s employment eligibility. In response, the employer accepted the Social Security card and rehired the worker.

New Haven, CT

On February 26, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an Iraqi asylee. The asylee presented an employment authorization document (EAD) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; however, his employer would not allow him to begin working because he had not yet received a Social Security number. OSC shared guidance from the IRS with the employer, explaining how to report wages for employees who have applied for Social Security numbers. After receiving the guidance, the employer allowed the asylee to commence his work at the hotel.

Alexandria, VA

On March 1, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention and saved the job of an Eritrean asylee who works at a supermarket. When his Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expired, the store manager advised him that his unrestricted Social Security card did not appear to be acceptable proof of his continuing eligibility for employment and took him off of the schedule. When the worker called OSC he had already lost two days of work. OSC contacted counsel who agreed that the worker should be immediately reinstated and paid for the two days of work he lost.

Dallas, TX

On March 24, 2010, OSC saved the job of a Congolese asylee whose employer requested further documentation when his employment authorization document expired. OSC called his employer to provide information about accepting a Form I-94 with an asylum stamp, as explained in the Handbook for Employers. The employer agreed to accept his I-94 as proof of his employment authorization, and the asylee is still working.

Bethesda, MD

On April 16, 2010, OSC successfully completed a telephone intervention allowing an asylee to return to work after being suspended. The asylee’s employer, a nursing home, reverified the asylee’s work authorization when her employment authorization document (EAD) expired and suspended the employee from work until she could produce a new EAD or a permanent resident card. The nursing home already possessed a copy of the asylee’s driver’s license and unrestricted Social Security card. We contacted the nursing home and explained that the employee had already produced sufficient documentation for Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes, and that to demand more or different documents from the asylee may constitute a violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The employer indicated that it would contact the employee to allow her to resume work.

Albuquerque, NM

On August 23, 2010, OSC completed a hotline intervention, ensuring that a refugee could remain in his job with a large retail chain store. The refugee presented his I-94 card when he completed his Form I-9. A refugee I-94 card presented at the time of hire is valid for 90 days, at the end of which the refugee must present a document from List A or List C. As the 90-day deadline approached, the employer requested a new document. The refugee visited SSA to request a replacement for his lost Social Security card, but the SSA office told him that it could not process his request because his I-94 card was “expired”. OSC sought assistance from the regional SSA office, since the refugee’s I-94 card contains no expiration date. The SSA regional office reached out to the SSA field office, and SSA soon after approved the application for a replacement card. The refugee received his new Social Security card and his employer accepted it, allowing the refugee to continue working.

Silver Spring, MD

On September 3, 2010, OSC completed a successful telephone intervention and saved the job of a Sierra Leonean refugee who works as a home health nurse for a hospital system. When she originally completed her I-9 form, the nurse indicated she was an alien authorized to work until July 19, 2010 (the expiration date on her EAD); however, the documents she chose to present to prove her identity and work authorization were her Maryland ID card and unrestricted Social Security card. Her employer sent her several letters requiring her to submit updated documentation. She presented her Form I-94 with an unexpired refugee admission stamp, which is a valid receipt for Form I-9 purposes, but the employer refused this document because it was not attached to a passport as is the Form I-94 listed in the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents. Neither the worker nor her employer understood that the unrestricted Social Security card presented at time of hire remained valid proof of her employment authorization. OSC contacted counsel for the employer and the employer said that it would reinstate the worker with full back pay.

General Information Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices
 
Leadership
(currently vacant)
Special Counsel
Alberto Ruisanchez
Acting Deputy Special Counsel
Contact
Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
OSC, NYA 9000
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 616-5594
Worker Hotline: 1-800-255-7688
Employer Hotline: 1-800-255-8155
Teletypewriter (TTY) (202) 616-5525 & 1-800-237-2515
Fax: (202) 616-5509
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