Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against New Jersey Information Technology Company for Retaliation
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department settled a lawsuit today against Whiz International LLC, an information technology staffing company in Jersey City, N.J., regarding allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it terminated an employee in retaliation for expressing opposition to Whiz’s alleged preference for foreign nationals with temporary work visas.
The complaint, which was filed May 22, 2012, alleged that the company directed an employee that served as a receptionist and a recruiter to prefer certain noncitizens in its recruitment efforts and then terminated the employee when she expressed discomfort with excluding U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from consideration. The anti-discrimination provision in the INA prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who oppose a practice that is illegal under the statute or who attempt to assert rights under the statute.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company has agreed to pay $21,780 in monetary relief to the injured party, which included backpay and front pay, along with a $1,000 civil penalty. The company has also agreed to be subject to three years of monitoring and reporting by the Justice Department.
“We are pleased to reach a swift and just resolution of this case,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Retaliation against employees for speaking up against potential civil rights violations will never be tolerated. The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals are not discriminatorily denied work opportunities.”
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA, which protect U.S. citizens and certain work-authorized individuals from citizenship status discrimination. The INA also protects work-authorized individuals from national origin discrimination, over-documentation in the employment eligibility verification process and retaliation.
For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the 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/crt/about/osc/webinars.php, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/.