Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against California County
The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Stanislaus County, California. The settlement resolves the Department of Justice’s investigation into whether the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department engaged in prohibited hiring practices in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The Department’s investigation concluded that the Sheriff’s Department improperly delayed rehiring a former deputy sheriff who was a lawful permanent resident (LPR) because he was not a U.S. citizen. The INA prohibits employers from discriminating in the hiring process based on citizenship status against certain categories of individuals, including recent LPRs, unless necessary to comply with a specific legal requirement. Because the affected individual was an LPR who had applied for and was eligible for naturalization, he met all applicable citizenship requirements under California law and should have been rehired.
The investigation also concluded that Stanislaus County posted job advertisements for deputy probation officers, deputy sheriffs, trainees, and interns with language that unlawfully excluded applications from some eligible LPRs, in violation of the INA.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Stanislaus County will pay $7,000 in civil penalties, engage in training its human resources staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and review and revise its job advertisements and questionnaires to ensure compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The settlement agreement also acknowledges that, after receiving notice of the investigation, the Sheriff’s Department rehired the affected individual with back pay for lost wages.
“We commend Stanislaus County for its cooperation and corrective action,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Qualified non-citizens who meet all legal citizenship requirements and wish to protect and serve their communities should not face unnecessary and unlawful barriers based on citizenship status. We are pleased that Stanislaus County has committed to ensuring compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.”
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits discrimination against individuals who are authorized to work based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.
Employers can find information on how to avoid unlawful discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin here. Workers can find information about their rights under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA here. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the INA, 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. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.