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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against California Employer Over Discrimination Against Foreign-Born Workers

The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with Life Generations Healthcare LLC, doing business as Generations Healthcare (GHC), a company that runs assisted living facilities throughout California.  The settlement follows an administrative court decision finding that GHC engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against individuals born abroad, including naturalized U.S. citizens, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

On Sept. 30, 2011, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against GHC alleging that the company discriminated against authorized workers born abroad.  Specifically, GHC required these immigrants to produce more documents to establish authority to work than it required of citizens born in the United States.  After a trial, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer -- the administrative court that hears such claims -- ruled in the department’s favor.   

Today’s settlement resolves the remedial issues in the case, which the court did not address in its earlier ruling.  Under the terms of the settlement agreement, GHC will pay a total of $119,313 in back pay to two victims of discrimination, and $88,687 in civil penalties to the United States.  GHC will also be subject to monitoring of its hiring practices for a period of two years.

“Both the court’s ruling and this settlement underscore the importance of complying with the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the consequences for failing to do so," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “Employers should review their hiring policies and employment eligibility verification practices to ensure that they comply with federal anti-discrimination law.”

The case was litigated and settled by the department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), which is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The statute prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized applicants or employees during the employment eligibility verification process because of their citizenship status or national origin.  The statute also prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, as well as retaliation and intimidation.

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.  

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 for a fee, should contact OSC’s worker hotline for assistance.

Press Release Number: 
Updated December 4, 2014