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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Postal Express

The Justice Department announced today that it has reached an agreement with Postal Express Inc., a delivery and logistics company with locations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  The agreement resolves a charge filed with the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), claiming that the company discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).   

The department’s investigation found that Postal Express required a Lawful Permanent Resident, who is permanently work authorized by virtue of that status, to produce a particular immigration document to re-verify his employment eligibility even though the employee had already provided sufficient documentation to prove his authorization to work in the United States.  Specifically, the department found that Postal Express improperly required him to present a new Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and suspended him when he failed to do so.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making specific documentary demands or requesting unnecessary work-authorization documents based on citizenship status or national origin when verifying or re-verifying an employee’s employment eligibility. 

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company has agreed to pay a civil penalty.  The company also has agreed, among other terms, to train employees on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and to revise company policies to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.  The company reinstated the suspended employee and paid him lost wages at the start of OSC’s investigation.

“The department is committed to eliminating discriminatory barriers to employment for authorized workers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Civil Rights Division commends Postal Express for working with the division to resolve this matter.  We will continue to work with employers to help implement best practices in the employment eligibility verification process.” 

OSC 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 practices; retaliation and intimidation.  Trial Attorney Katherine E. Lamm investigated this matter. 

For more information about 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.  

Updated October 14, 2015