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Press Release

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Chicago Health Care Provider

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Sinai Health System Inc. (Sinai) in Chicago, Illinois.   Sinai serves the health care needs of the approximately 1.5 million people who reside within its service areas -- Chicago’s west and southwest sides -- and comprises Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center of Chicago, Holy Cross Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and Care Network, Sinai Children’s Hospital, Sinai Community Institute, Sinai Medical Group, and Sinai Urban Health Institute.  The settlement resolves a claim that Sinai violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against non-citizen employees when verifying their work authorization. 

The Department’s independent investigation concluded that, from at least Jan. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017, a human resources employee responsible for verifying employees’ work authority routinely required newly hired non-U.S. citizen employees to provide specific documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security to prove employment eligibility.  In contrast, U.S. citizen employees were permitted to present the documentation of their choice to establish their work authorization.  Federal law allows individuals, regardless of citizenship status, the right to choose which document to present, from a range of valid documents, to demonstrate their authority to work in the United States.  The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship status or national origin.

“Employers are reminded that the employment eligibility verification process is intended to confirm an employee’s work authorization, not their immigration status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Division commends Sinai for its commitment to complying with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.”

Under the settlement, Sinai will pay $7,000 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.  The agreement also requires certain employees to attend training on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and Sinai will make available IER materials containing information about IER and the anti-discrimination provision of the INA at various locations.  

The 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 citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practicesretaliation 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; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to retaliation; 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.

Updated December 19, 2018

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 18-1667