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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against J.E.T. Holding Co. Inc.

The Justice Department reached a settlement today to resolve the department’s claims that J.E.T. Holding Co. Inc. discriminated against U.S. citizens and certain work-authorized immigrants in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  J.E.T. is a company based in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), that operates a restaurant, bowling alley and an amusement center.  

The department’s investigation found evidence that between approximately January 2016 and June 2016, J.E.T. engaged in a pattern or practice of refusing to hire U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals, including lawful permanent residents, for several dishwasher positions.  The department concluded that J.E.T. failed to consider qualified U.S. citizen applicants and others based on their citizenship or immigration status because of a preference for hiring non-immigrant foreign workers with CW-1 visas.  The CW-1 visa grants temporary work authorization to its beneficiaries and is only available in the CNMI.  CNMI employers may apply to the CNMI Department of Labor for permission to hire workers under the CW-1 visa program after advertising vacant positions and certifying that no qualified local workers are available for hire.  

Under the terms of the settlement, J.E.T. will pay a civil penalty of $12,000, establish a back pay fund of $40,000 to compensate qualified claimants for any lost wages through a claims process, train its workers on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to department monitoring.

“This settlement reflects the Justice Department’s firm commitment to ensuring that we protect the rights of workers in all U.S. jurisdictions,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “We commend J.E.T. for its cooperation in achieving this settlement and for taking steps to ensure that workers don’t face discriminatory barriers in the hiring process. ”
                                                                                                                                             
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the civil rights of all workers and ensuring that employers are not discriminating against individuals based on their citizenship or national origin or immigration status, in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the INA,” said U.S. Attorney Alicia A.G. Limtiaco of the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.  “We all have the right to be treated equally and fairly.” 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the CNMI coordinated with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in its investigative efforts, and will provide assistance during the back pay claims process.    

Potential back pay claimants include those who applied for a dishwasher position with J.E.T. between Dec. 13, 2015, and May 14, 2016.  Individuals who believe they are potential claimants should contact joann.sazama@usdoj.gov or 202-307-3092, or Jessica.f.cruz@usdoj.gov or 671-479-4139.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The law 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 status, immigration status or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral, should contact the worker hotline above for assistance.

JET Settlement Agreement

17-075
Topic: 
Civil Rights
Updated February 8, 2017