FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES IMMIGRATION-RELATED
EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CHARGES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced an agreement that settles immigration-related employment discrimination claims against Rex Healthcare, a private health care system with several facilities in Wake County, North Carolina. Under the terms of the agreement, Rex agreed to pay a $3,600 civil penalty, post anti-discrimination notices, educate its personnel, and refrain from discriminating against U.S. citizens and work-authorized immigrants during the employment verification process.
The agreement resolves a complaint filed with the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (Office of Special Counsel). The complainant alleged that Rex unlawfully required proof of citizenship from non-U.S. citizens during the employment verification hiring process. Specifically, the complainant alleged that Rex required her to produce immigration-related documents while permitting U.S. citizens to present any acceptable combination of documents, including a Social Security card and driver’s license. The complainant also alleged that Rex unlawfully retaliated against her for exercising her rights.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to examine documents from new employees in order to verify their work eligibility in the United States. The INA also prohibits employers from treating citizens and non-citizens unequally.
The Office of Special Counsel enforces the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, which prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their citizenship or immigration status, as well as national origin, with respect to employees’ hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee. The INA also prohibits employers from engaging in discriminatory practices when verifying employees’ work eligibility. It also prohibits retaliation against individuals who assert their rights under the INA, assist with investigations, or file discrimination complaints.
Since FY 2001, the Office of Special Counsel has handled more than 1,375 charges and other allegations of discrimination, recovered $283,634 in back pay for victims of discrimination, and collected $399,281 in civil penalties. In addition, through its employer and employee hotlines, the Office resolves thousands of potential disputes annually, and has already handled nearly 8,000 such calls this fiscal year.
Individuals seeking more information about the Office of Special Counsel may call 1-800-255-7688 or visit the Office of Special Counsel at www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc <http://www.usdoj.gov>.