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Press Release

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Security Company

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with U.S. Security Associates Inc. (USSA), which was recently acquired by Allied Universal Holdco LLC (Allied Universal) – the largest private security firm in the United States. Prior to its acquisition, USSA provided security services to hospitals, schools, financial institutions, government facilities, events, and other businesses. The settlement resolves a claim that USSA’s Falls Church, Virginia office violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization. The settlement applies to USSA and Allied Universal.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that employers do not unlawfully discriminate because of citizenship status or national origin when requesting documents to verify employees’ work authorization,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We are pleased that USSA and its successor, Allied Universal, have agreed to resolve this matter with the Division and ensure that their Falls Church office complies with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.”

The Department’s independent investigation concluded that, from at least Jan. 1, 2015, to July 30, 2018, USSA’s Falls Church, Virginia, office required lawful permanent residents to provide specific documentation to prove their work authorization, while not imposing a similar requirement on U.S. citizens. Federal law allows all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, to choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization based on employees’ citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, USSA or its successor will pay $194,000 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements. Additionally, certain employees will be required to attend training on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) 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; and retaliation and intimidation

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to retaliation; 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 for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

Updated September 3, 2019

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 19-927