Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Massachusetts Staffing Agency
The Justice Department reached an agreement today with SD Staffing LLC (SD Staffing), aka Atwork Personnel Services Inc., a company based in Methuen, Mass., resolving claims that the staffing company engaged in citizenship status discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The department’s investigation, which was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), found that SD Staffing required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to produce specific documents in connection with SD Staffing’s use of the E-Verify program. E-Verify is an Internet-based electronic verification system used by employers and administered by USCIS that confirms an individual’s employment eligibility. The department’s investigation confirmed that SD Staffing requested unnecessary documents to work-authorized non-U.S. citizens, but not to similarly-situated U.S. citizens.
Under the settlement agreement, SD Staffing will identify and provide back pay to individuals who suffered lost wages between September 2011 and January 2014 as a result of the company’s alleged discriminatory documentary practices; pay $10,500 in civil penalties to the United States; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for two years.
“Employers cannot create discriminatory hurdles for work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in the employment eligibility verification process, which includes the E-Verify program,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend SD Staffing for restructuring its hiring processes and documentary practices to ensure that it will no longer treat work-authorized new hires differently based on their citizenship status.”
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The case was handled by OSC Trial Attorney Luz V. Lopez-Ortiz. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call the OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2525, TDD for hearing impaired), call the OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-362-2735, TDD for hearing impaired), sign up for a no-cost webinar at www.justice.gov/about/osc/webinars.php, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship or immigration status or national origin should contact the above-mentioned worker hotline for assistance.