IER LETTERS OF RESOLUTION FY 2018

Please note that as of January 18, 2017, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has been renamed the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).

IER issued letters of resolution to U.S. employers who voluntarily entered into bi-lateral and unilateral settlement agreements with the charging parties resolving discrimination charges.  Letters of resolution were also issued to conclude independent investigations where the employer has voluntarily corrected its practices and no victims were identified.

The following are summaries of letters of resolutions issued in fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2018):

On October 4, 2017, IER issued a letter of resolution dismissing a charge of unfair documentary practices against a non-profit organization.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the company subjected the charging party to a specific document request based on her citizenship status, the investigation identified shortcomings in the company’s Form I-9 processes.  The letter of resolution memorializes Respondent’s staff’s attendance at an IER webinar and its commitment to comply with the rules and regulations surrounding the Form I-9 and all other EEV processes.  (Titusville, FL)

On October 18, 2017, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to an insurance company resolving a charge alleging unfair documentary practices in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6).  Specifically, the Respondent engaged in improper behavior by requesting to reverify the Charging Party’s permanent resident card (PRC).  Although employers should not reverify an employee’s PRC, IER’s investigation did not establish reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred.  However, the investigation revealed problematic practices that could cause workers to believe they were subject to unlawful discrimination.  The LOR acknowledges the company’s commitment to participate in IER and USCIS training for its HR personnel and comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. (Brenham, TX)

On November 13, 2017, IER issued a letter of resolution dismissing a charge of unfair documentary practices against a technology company.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the company subjected the charging party to a specific document request based on his citizenship status, the investigation identified deficiencies in the company’s employment eligibility verfication processes.  The letter of resolution memorializes Respondent’s commitment to have its human resources staff attend an IER webinar and its commitment to comply with the rules and regulations surrounding all employment eligibility verification processes.  (Framingham, MA)

On November 22, 2017, IER issued a Letter of Resolution (LOR) dismissing an independent investigation of a staffing agency regarding alleged citizenship status discrimination.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the company implemented any discriminatory hiring decisions, the investigation identified deficiencies in the company’s job advertisement process.  The LOR memorializes the company’s commitment to comply with 8 U.S.C. § 1324b and avoid creating job advertisements that imply a preference for, or specifically request, a particular immigration or citizenship status unless required by law.  (Natick, MA)

On November 28, 2017, IER issued a letter of resolution to a chain restaurant closing a charge-based investigation into whether the chain’s Cary, North Carolina location had engaged in unfair documentary practices in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6).  While the IER investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe that the location violated the statute, it did identify several weaknesses in the company’s initial hire employment eligibility verification practices.  IER determined that the identified weaknesses would be adequately addressed based on the restaurant’s unilateral commitment that the restaurant manager, the individual responsible for the location’s employment eligibility verification process, would participate in additional training on the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  In addition, during the IER investigation, the restaurant voluntarily paid $2,200 in back pay to the Charging Party and made an offer of reinstatement.  (Cary, NC)

On December 18, 2017, IER issued a letter of resolution to a company that preformed employment eligibility verification (“EEV”) services on a contract basis for third party employers.  While acknowledging that its investigation did not establish reasonable cause to believe that the company violated 8 U.S.C. § 1324b in connection with its contract EEV services, IER’s investigation identified several nondiscriminatory weaknesses in the company’s EEV policies and practices that warranted attention.  The letter of resolution advised the company that the identified weaknesses would be adequately addressed by the company’s commitment to undergo additional training on the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  (Westborough, MA) 

On December 20, 2017, IER issued a letter of resolution to a staffing company after completing an independent investigation into the potential existence of a pattern or practice of unfair documentary practices.  Although IER’s investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe the company violated 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6), it did reveal a number of deficiencies in the company’s employment eligibility verification and reverification process that could result in future violations.  Under the terms of the letter of resolution, the company agreed to have its corporate-level managers and human resources staff undergo IER-provided training.  (Bensenville, IL)

On January 18, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution to a flower importer, closing a charge-based investigation into whether the company engaged in unfair documentary practices in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6).  The charge was filed by a lawful permanent resident who originally provided the company with an expired permanent resident card, and the company did not permit him to correct his error by allowing him to produce other documents, such as an ID and unrestricted Social Security card.  Although IER’s investigation did not determine that the company had discriminated based on citizenship status or national origin, the investigation revealed deficiencies in the company’s employment eligibility verification procedures that could lead to possible future violations.  The company gave the Charging Party $6,202 in back pay under a separate bilateral agreement during IER’s investigation.  IER dismissed the investigation based on the company’s commitments to train its human resources staff. (Miami, FL)

On February 1, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) closing its investigation of a charge of unfair documentary practices against a nursing home.  Although the Charging Party had provided her Employment Authorization document (I-766) to verify her work authorization, which was sufficient for the Form I-9, the employer fired the Charging Party based on its incorrect belief that the “valid for work only with DHS authorization” notation on her restricted Social Security Card required her to produce additional documentation.  After receiving IER’s notice of investigation, the employer, on its own initiative, quickly admitted its mistake and took all steps that IER otherwise would have required to rectify the situation, including rehiring the Charging Party with back pay, and had its HR employees attend an IER Employer webinar.  Among other things, the LOR acknowledges the employer’s commitment to review its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1324b. (Syracuse, NY)

On February 8, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to a restaurant resolving allegations of citizenship status discrimination and unfair documentary practices. The Charging Party, a U.S. citizen, alleged that the restaurant fired her after she couldn’t produce a Social Security card for employment eligibility verification purposes, although she had already satisfied Form I-9 requirements with other documents.  After IER opened its investigation the company rehired the Charging Party and gave her full back pay. IER ultimately concluded that although was insufficient evidence of a Section 1324b violation, there were deficiencies in the restaurant’s EEV practices. The LOR acknowledges the restaurant’s commitment to participate in an IER webinar and comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. (Michigan City, IN)

On February 13, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) following its independent investigation of a landscaping company.  IER investigated whether the company had preferred hiring H-2B visa holders over U.S. workers in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(1).  Although there was insufficient evidence of unlawful citizenship status discrimination, the investigation revealed deficiencies in the employer’s employment eligibility verification process.  The LOR acknowledges the employer’s commitment to have its human resources staff participate in IER-sponsored training, familiarize itself with Form I-9 and E-Verify rules, and comply with 8 U.S.C. § 1324b. (Englewood, CO)

On February 23, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution to a staffing company and dismissed IER’s independent investigation into a potential pattern or practice of unfair documentary practices.  Though IER’s investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe the company violated 8 U.S.C. §1324b(a)(1) or (a)(6), it did reveal a number of deficiencies in the company’s hiring practices that could result in future violations.  Under the terms of the letter of resolution, the company agreed to have its managers, recruiters, and human resources staff undergo IER-provided training. (Farmington, CT) 

On March 15, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) dismissing a charge of unfair documentary practices and retaliation against a warehouse and distribution company.  There was insufficient evidence that the company rejected a valid employment authorization document based on the charging party’s citizenship status or national origin, or that it retaliated against him for filing a charge with IER.  However, the investigation revealed potential shortcomings in the company’s training of HR employees to ensure proper implementation of employment eligibility verification processes.  The LOR memorializes respondent’s commitment to train staff involved in the Form I-9 and E-Verify process by attending an IER Employer webinar, and its commitment to not retaliate against the charging party by giving full consideration of any employment application he submits.  (Jersey City, NJ)

On March 20, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to a medical and home care services staffing agency resolving both charged-based and independent investigations of unfair documentary practices.  The Charging Party, a lawful permanent resident, alleged that the company asked her for continued proof of her permission to work when her Permanent Resident Card expired.  Although employers should not reverify PRCs when they expire, IER’s investigations established that the reverification occurred due to issues unrelated to discrimination.  However, the investigations revealed problematic practices that could cause workers to believe they were subject to unlawful discrimination.  The LOR acknowledges the company’s commitment to participate in IER training for its HR personnel and comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. (Las Vegas, NV)

On March 23, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (“LOR”) dismissing a charge of citizenship status discrimination and unfair documentary practices against a hospital.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the hospital discriminated against the Charging Party based on his citizenship status or subjected him to a specific document request, the investigation identified shortcomings in the hospital’s Form I-9 processes.  The LOR memorializes the hospital’s commitment to have its staff attend an IER HR/Employer webinar, provide its staff with Form I-9 guidance documents, and give full consideration to any future applications the Charging Party submits. (Lexington, KY) 

On March 26, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to a motor transportation carrier following the completion of a charge-based investigation to determine if the company retaliated against the Charging Party for exercising a right or privilege secured under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision.  Though IER did not find reasonable cause to believe the company violated 8 U.S.C. §1324b(a)(5), the company’s conduct, if unchanged, could lead to future violations. Under the terms of the LOR, the company agreed to have its managers, recruiters, and hiring personnel undergo IER-provide training.  (Perrysburg, OH) 

On April 3, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to a government agency resolving a charge alleging discriminatory hiring on the basis of citizenship status.  The Charging Party, a lawful permanent resident, alleged that the Respondent restricted vacancies to U.S. citizens without a law, regulation, executive order, or government contract that required U.S. citizenship.  During the investigation, Respondent amended its policies and postings to eliminate the U.S. citizenship requirement and paid the Charging Party $1366 in back pay.  The LOR acknowledges Respondent’s commitment to comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. (Junction City, KS)

On April 16, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution dismissing a charge of citizenship status discrimination against a small company.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the company preferred to hire H-2A workers rather than the charging party based on his U.S. citizenship, the investigation identified shortcomings in the company’s H-2A recruitment and Form I-9 processes.  The letter of resolution memorializes Respondent’s staff’s participation in an IER webinar, its commitment to comply with the rules and regulations surrounding the Form I-9 and all other EEV processes, and the implementation of various improvements in Respondent’s processes to ensure proper consideration of domestic U.S. worker applicants for positions for which Respondent seeks H-2A workers. (Spring, TX)

On April 23, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to a health insurance organization resolving a charge alleging an unfair documentary practice.  The Charging Party, a United States citizen, alleged that the Respondent improperly rejected her Form I-9 documents and terminated her employment after training/working several hours on her first day of work.  During the investigation, Respondent reinstated the Charging Party and paid the Charging Party $1805.72 in back pay.  The LOR acknowledges Respondent’s commitment to participate in an IER webinar and to comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  (Corona, CA)

On May 2, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) dismissing a charge of citizenship status discrimination against an institution of higher education.  The Charging Party, a lawful permanent resident, alleged that she had been denied an academic position based on her citizenship status.  Although the employer had published a job posting that included a statement that “U.S. Citizenship is preferred,” and lawfully could have preferred to hire an equally qualified US citizen after first considering all candidates regardless of citizenship status, IER’s investigation found insufficient evidence to believe that the employer restricted its consideration of any candidates, including Charging Party, based on citizenship status.  Because the employer did not require U.S. citizenship status based on a law or other legal justification, and the ad could be viewed as imposing an unlawful preference for U.S. citizens at the initial screening phase, the employer committed to educate its staff on prohibited citizenship status discrimination.  (Boise, ID)

On May 18, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) resolving an independent investigation of a health care company regarding alleged unfair documentary practices prohibited under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6). Although IER’s investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe that the company violated the law, IER identified several violations of Form I-9 rules that created the appearance of discrimination or could lead to future discrimination.  The LOR memorializes the company’s unilateral commitment to participate in an IER training, and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the employment eligibility verification process. (Washington, DC)

On May 29, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) resolving a charge-based investigation of a medical office regarding alleged unfair documentary practices prohibited under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6). Although IER’s investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe that the company violated the law, IER identified several violations of Form I-9 rules that created the appearance of discrimination or could lead to future discrimination.  The LOR memorializes the company’s unilateral commitment to pay the Charging Party back pay, participate in an IER webinar, and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the employment eligibility verification process. (Brooklyn, NY)

On June 12, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution to a temporary staffing agency resolving two investigations into unfair documentary practices in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6).  Although there was insufficient evidence to establish that the employer subjected the charging party to a specific document request based on her citizenship or immigration status, the investigation identified deficiencies in the employer’s employment eligibility verification (EEV) processes.  The letter of resolution memorializes Respondent’s commitment that all staff members responsible for the EEV process (whether employed by Respondent or by Respondent’s subcontractor) will attend an IER webinar and its commitment to comply with the rules and regulations surrounding all employment eligibility verification processes. (Lawrenceville, NJ)

On June 19, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution resolving a charge-based investigation of an employer in California regarding alleged unfair documentary practices prohibited under 8 U.S.C. § 1324(b)(a)(6).  Although IER’s investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe that the employer violated the law, IER did identify a lack of training and oversight that might create the appearance of a violation or lead to future discrimination. The LOR memorializes the employer’s commitment to provide the Charging Party with back pay, participate in an IER webinar, and modify its employment eligibility verification and reverification process to ensure compliance with §1324b. (Earlimart, CA)

On July 23, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution dismissing an independent investigation into whether a company engaged in the business of providing workers to the Myrtle Beach, SC hospitality industry denied employment to U.S. workers because it preferred to hire temporary foreign workers.  The investigation revealed that the employer had re-directed U.S. worker applicants to a webpage designed to recruit foreign workers, and had a history of heavy reliance on temporary visa workers.  In response to IER’s investigation, the company unilaterally took or committed to take the following actions:  its Human Resources staff will participate in an IER educational webinar; its webpage was  modified to allow U.S. applicants to more easily apply for positions; and its recruitment and hiring practices will be modified to be more responsive to applications from U.S. workers. (Myrtle Beach, SC)

On July 25, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution to a farm resolving six charges of citizenship status discrimination under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(1).  The charging parties are U.S. citizens who alleged that the farm preferred to hire workers under the H-2A visa program. While IER’s investigation did not find reasonable cause to believe that the farm violated § 1324b, IER identified some deficiencies in the farm’s recruitment practices that could create the appearance of such violations.  Following the investigation, the farm agreed to familiarize itself with the H-2A regulations and participate in an IER-sponsored training to learn about its responsibilities under § 1324b. (Vincennes, IN)

On August 1, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution resolving an independent investigation of a janitorial services company regarding potential citizenship status discrimination in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(1).  IER investigated whether the company had restricted its hiring to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, which would be unlawful because other non-U.S. citizens, such as refugees and asylees, also are protected from citizenship status discrimination.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the company had denied employment to any such non-U.S. citizens, the investigation revealed deficiencies in the company’s hiring practices, including a lack of awareness that ITAR/EAR regulations do not permit or require companies to limit employment to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.  Respondent amended its hiring practices to eliminate its screening for U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency, and committed to train its personnel on 8 U.S.C. § 1324b requirements. (Greensboro, NC)

On August 14, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution (LOR) to a restaurant dismissing an independent investigation into potential citizenship status or national origin discrimination.  Although there was insufficient evidence that the company implemented any discriminatory hiring criteria, the investigation identified several nondiscriminatory deficiencies in the company’s employment eligibility verification (EEV) processes that warranted attention.  IER dismissed the investigation based on the company’s commitments to train staff involved in the hiring process and familiarize itself with reference materials pertaining to the EEV process. (Haymarket, VA)

On August 21, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution dismissing an independent investigation of alleged citizenship status discrimination against a recruiting company.  At a recent recruiting event, one of the company’s representatives told the audience that U.S. citizenship was required for its client’s customer service representative positions.  The company later informed IER that U.S. citizenship was not a requirement for its client’s positions.  Although the investigation revealed that the company did not fall within IER’s jurisdiction because it employed less than four individuals, the company agreed to ensure that it does not communicate or impose unnecessary job requirements in the future and that it will ascertain the basis of any such requirements from its clients. (Haymarket, VA)

On September 28, 2018, IER issued a letter of resolution closing an independent investigation of a multi-office California staffing agency for possible discriminatory documentary practices against non-citizens, including Lawful Permanent Residents, during its employment eligibility verification (EEV) process.  While IER’s investigation suggested that a single former HR manager at a single location requested that some LPRs present a DHS-issued List A document during the EEV process, the staffing agency’s prompt implementation of training and other adequate corrective actions ensuring its compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1324b warranted closure of the investigation through a letter of resolution. (Santa Clara, CA)

 

Updated October 2, 2018

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