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Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Justice Department Wins Lawsuit Against Texas Employer That Discriminated Against U.S. Citizen

The Justice Department announced today that it won a lawsuit against Estopy Farms regarding allegations that the company discriminated against a U.S. citizen by preferring to hire foreign workers.  The case was decided by the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, the administrative court authorized to hear discrimination cases under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 

The court found that Estopy Farms, a farm that harvests crops in Texas, violated the INA when it refused to hire a qualified U.S. worker to operate agricultural equipment because the company preferred to hire foreign workers under the H-2 visa program.  The case now moves to the remedial phase for the court to determine what Estopy Farms must do to remedy the violation, which includes the possibility of paying civil penalties. 

“Companies cannot manipulate visa programs to discriminate against U.S. workers because of their citizenship,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “This ruling sends a strong message to all employers that discrimination against U.S. workers will not be tolerated.”         

The case was litigated by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), which is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The statute prohibits employers from discriminating because of citizenship or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee.  The statute also 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.

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 discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, or different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin, should contact OSC’s worker hotline for assistance.

Press Release Number: 
Updated August 4, 2015