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Press Release

Justice Department Secures Agreement with National Home Healthcare Company to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that it secured a settlement agreement with Maxim Healthcare Services (Maxim), a home healthcare company based in Columbia, Maryland, with operations in 35 states. The agreement resolves the department’s determination that Maxim violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) at its Gardena, California, office by discriminating against a non-U.S. citizen worker when it rejected her valid document showing her permission to work and requiring lawful permanent residents working for the company to prove their continued permission to work even though it was unnecessary.

“Employers cannot treat employees differently based on their citizenship status when verifying their permission to work,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department is committed to ensuring that employers do not deny workers equal treatment in the workplace, whether in hiring, checking employees’ permission to work or otherwise.”

After opening an investigation based on a worker’s complaint, the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) concluded that Maxim improperly rejected the worker’s valid document based on her citizenship status. Specifically, the department determined that the company rejected the worker’s employment authorization document (EAD) because the last name on it was different from the last name on her driver’s license and Social Security card, even though the company accepted documents from U.S. citizens under similar circumstances and believed that the EAD reasonably appeared to be genuine and to relate to the worker, which is all that the Department of Homeland Security rules require.

The investigation also determined that Maxim routinely required lawful permanent residents to present unnecessary documentation when their Permanent Resident Cards expired, which is not required by law. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from rejecting valid documents or asking for specific or unnecessary documents because of a worker’s citizenship or immigration status. If a lawful permanent resident provides an unexpired Permanent Resident Card to prove their permission to work, employers are not permitted to request new documentation if the Permanent Resident Card later expires.

Under the terms of the settlement, Maxim will pay a civil penalty to the United States and lost wages to the affected worker, train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination requirements, revise its employment policies and processes and be subject to monitoring by the department.

IER is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee, unfair documentary practices and retaliation and intimidation

Find more information about how employers can avoid discrimination when verifying someone’s permission to work on IER’s website. More information on how employers may handle discrepancies in the names that appear on employees’ Form I-9 documents is available as well. Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) or subjected to retaliation, may file a charge. The public can also call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email; sign up for a live webinar; watch an on-demand presentation or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe for email updates from IER.

Updated May 15, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-612