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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Potter Concrete

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Potter Concrete, a company based in Dallas, resolving claims that the company engaged in a pattern or practice of document abuse in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).


The department’s investigation, which was initiated based on a referral from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), concluded that Potter Concrete subjected non-U.S. citizen new hires to unlawful demands for specific documentation issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in order to verify their employment eligibility, while U.S. citizens were permitted to present their choice of documentation.  The investigation also revealed that Potter Concrete selectively utilized E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of individuals they knew or believed to be non-U.S. citizens or foreign born.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.


Under the settlement agreement, Potter Concrete will pay $115,000 in civil penalties to the United States; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; revise its employment eligibility verification policies; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for one year.


“Employers cannot create discriminatory hurdles for work-authorized non-U.S. citizens or naturalized 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.  “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting U.S. citizens and all work-authorized immigrants from document abuse.”


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 status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee, document abuse and retaliation or intimidation .  This matter was handled by OSC Trial Attorney Ronald Lee and OSC Equal Opportunity Specialist Alexandra A. Vince.  For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws or how to sign up for a free webinar, 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 or visit the OSC 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.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014