The Justice Department reached a settlement today with American Cleaning Company (ACC) resolving claims that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). ACC is a maintenance and janitorial company based in Brighton, Massachusetts.
The department’s investigation found that from at least Jan. 15, 2009, until at least Sept. 30, 2015, ACC routinely required workers who are not U.S. citizens to produce specific documents for the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes, whereas U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whatever valid documentation they wished to prove their work authorization. Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, must be allowed to choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present to prove their work authorization. It is unlawful for an employer to limit employees’ choice of documentation because of their citizenship or immigration status.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, ACC will pay $195,000 in civil penalties, train its human resources staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and review and revise its policies and procedures to conform to the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.
“Federal law prohibits discrimination against workers based on their citizenship or immigration status, including during the employment eligibility verification process,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This Civil Rights Division will continue to protect the rights of lawful, authorized workers to do their jobs without facing discriminatory barriers.”
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices in employment eligibility verification; retaliation and intimidation.
To learn more about the protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/webinars.php; email email@example.com or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to: different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral, should contact the worker hotline above for assistance.