Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Justice Department Signs a Settlement Agreement with North Carolina Company to Ensure Fair Treatment in the Workplace

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with Sunlight Inc., doing business as Beauty Smart, of Durham, N.C., to resolve allegations of a pattern or practice of discrimination in recruitment and hiring on the basis of national origin. The agreement was reached under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of citizenship status and national origin.

Under the agreement, the employer must eliminate preferences for workers of Korean origin, ensure equal treatment regardless of national origin in its recruitment and hiring practices, and maintain applicant and other records that will permit the Justice Department to monitor the employer’s compliance with the agreement. In addition, the employer will pay $2,000 in lost wages to an applicant who was allegedly denied the opportunity to apply for a job because of her national origin, as well as a $500 civil penalty to the United States.

"Earning a living is key to achieving the American dream, and all individuals deserve to know they will be free of national origin discrimination as they pursue employment," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "The Division is committed to educating employers about how to comply with the anti-discrimination provision but, when the law is broken, we will take decisive action to enforce it."

The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in recruitment, hiring and firing; discriminatory documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process; and retaliation for filing a charge, assisting in an investigation, or asserting rights under the anti-discrimination provision. The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in the Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the anti-discrimination provision. Workers who believe they have been the victim of citizenship status or national origin discrimination should contact OSC on its worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688. Employers seeking guidance on how to avoid discriminatory policies and practices may contact OSC at 1-800-255-8155.

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