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Press Release

Justice Department Settles with New Jersey-Based Staffing Company to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with Collabera, Inc., a Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based information technology (IT) staffing agency.  The settlement resolves the department’s claims that Collabera violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens.  

“IT staffing companies and their end clients must not impose unlawful barriers to employment on non-U.S. citizens who have legal  authorization to work in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John B. Daukas of the Civil Rights Division.  “We look forward to working with Collabera to ensure compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”  

Based on its investigation, the department concluded that Collabera implemented a discriminatory applicant screening process in which its recruiters refused to pass on to clients non-U.S. citizens who held permanent work authorization unless they could provide an unexpired immigration document.  The department also concluded that on at least 39 occasions Collabera required non-U.S. citizens to present specific documentation to prove their work authorization because of their citizenship.  The INA prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.  Instead, in the INA, Congress determined that all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, may choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States.  The INA does, however, permit employers to reject non-genuine looking documents.  

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Collabera will pay to the United States a civil penalty of $53,000.  Collabera will also pay $35,475.92 as back pay to an affected worker.  Additionally, Collabera will train its employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, including an IER-provided training.  

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  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.  

Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video.  Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment, or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify); or subjected to retaliation, can file a charge.  The public also can contact IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688; call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email; sign up for a free webinar; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.  Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.

The Civil Rights Division wants to hear about civil rights violations.  Members of the public can report possible civil rights violations through the Civil Rights Division’s reporting portal.

Updated January 13, 2021

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 21-45