The Justice Department announced today the filing of a lawsuit with the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), against Autobuses Ejecutivos LLC, d/b/a Omnibus Express, a bus company based in Houston.
The complaint alleges Omnibus Express violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision by preferring to hire temporary nonimmigrant visa holders over U.S. citizens, certain lawful permanent residents and other protected individuals for bus driver positions. Specifically, the complaint states that from at least September 2012 to February 2013, Omnibus Express failed to consider the applications of many qualified U.S. citizens and other protected individuals, or actively discouraged them from pursuing their applications, while at the same time petitioning the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to hire up to 50 foreign workers on H-2B visas. The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs when there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing or qualified to do the temporary work. The complaint further alleges that Omnibus Express hired 42 H-2B workers during this period, and in doing so, represented to the DOL and USCIS that there were not enough qualified workers in the United States to fill the 50 bus driver positions. The complaint seeks an order prohibiting future discrimination by Omnibus Express, civil penalties, back pay for injured parties and injunctive relief. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring against certain workers based on their citizenship status.
“The nation’s current immigration law protects individuals in the United States, such as U.S. citizens, certain lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, from unlawful discrimination in hiring based on their citizenship status,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We are committed to enforcing the INA so that work-authorized individuals have equal access to employment in the United States.”
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which prohibits employers from discriminating against work-authorized individuals on the basis of citizenship status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral for a fee.
For more information about protections against employment discrimination under federal immigration law, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2525, TTY for hearing impaired), OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2525, TTY for hearing impaired) or 202-616-5594, sign up for a free webinar at www.justice.gov/crt/about/webinars.php ; email firstname.lastname@example.org ; or visit OSC’s website at www.justice/gov/crt/about/osc .