Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against California Staffing Companies
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with CitiStaff Solutions Inc., and CitiStaff Management Group Inc. (collectively CitiStaff), companies that provide staffing services in the greater Los Angeles, California area. The settlement resolves the department’s investigation into whether CitiStaff violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized immigrants when verifying their work authorization.
Based on its investigation, the department concluded that CitiStaff routinely requested that non-U.S. citizens present specific documents to prove their work authorization, such as Permanent Resident Cards or Employment Authorization Documents, but did not make similar requests for specific documents to U.S. citizens. The department’s investigation also found that CitiStaff unnecessarily required lawful permanent resident workers to prove their work authorization again when their Permanent Resident Cards expired, while not making similar requests to U.S. citizen workers when their documents expired.
All work-authorized individuals, whether U.S. citizens or non-U.S. citizens, have the right to choose which valid documentation to present to prove they are authorized to work, and employers should not reverify Permanent Resident Cards. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to different or unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.
Under the settlement, CitiStaff will pay a civil penalty of $200,000 to the United States, train its staff on the law, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for three years.
“Employers must take care to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Companies should ensure that their practices at initial hire, and in re-verifying employees’ work authorization, comply with federal law.”
The division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, 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); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.
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 for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.