Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 21, 2016

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against the Denver Sheriff Department

The Justice Department reached a settlement today resolving claims that the Denver Sheriff Department discriminated against work-authorized immigrants in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  The Denver Sheriff Department is the largest sheriff department in the state of Colorado.

The Justice Department’s investigation found that from approximately Jan. 1, 2015, until approximately March 23, 2016, the Denver Sheriff Department discriminated based on citizenship status by requiring applicants for deputy sheriff positions to be U.S. citizens and publishing job postings with U.S. citizenship requirements, in violation of the INA.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from limiting jobs to U.S. citizens except where the employer is required to do so by law, regulation, executive order or government contract.  The Denver Sheriff Department was not subject to one of the INA’s exceptions. 

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Denver Sheriff Department will pay $10,000 in civil penalties; identify applicants who may have been disqualified from consideration for deputy sheriff positions due to the citizenship requirement and consider these applicants’ qualifications without regards to their citizenship; train its human resources staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and review and revise its policies and procedures to comply with the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.
                                                              
“We commend the Denver Sheriff Department for its cooperation and commitment to removing unnecessary and unlawful employment barriers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “Eliminating this unlawful citizenship requirement will help ensure that the Denver Sheriff Department hires the best and most qualified individuals to protect and serve.  The entire community will benefit from these reforms.”

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 osccrt@usdoj.gov 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 OSC worker hotline for assistance.

Denver Sheriff Department Settlement Agreement

Updated November 21, 2016