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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. DOJís Lawsuit for Discrimination Based on Citizenship Status is Unusual

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    The Justice Department, through the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), filed a lawsuit against Louisiana-based companies Technical Marine Maintenance Texas LLC, which provides contract shipyard labor, and Gulf Coast Workforce LLC, a related company, alleging that they violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens during the I-9 and E-Verify process.

    According to the Complaint, from at least January 2014 until at least July 2017, Technical Marine asked U.S. citizens to produce List B and C documents, such as a state driverís license and Social Security cards, respectively. The statistics showed during this period, Technical Marine obtained List B and C documents from 99.56% of U.S. citizens. On the other hand, Technical Marine asked non-U.S. citizens to produce a List A document, such as a permanent resident card (green card) or employment authorization document. The statistics showed during this period, Technical Marine obtained a List A document from 99.29% of non-U.S. citizens.

    This is an unusual case because the Complaint alleges Technical Marine discriminated against both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens by their requests for certain documentation. In most cases brought by DOJ, the discrimination occurs through the request and receipt of certain document(s) by non-U.S. citizens while U.S. citizens are free to present any documentation from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. Because Technical Marine asked for specific and different documents from U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, then both actions are alleged as unlawful. Under the INA, all workers, regardless of their citizenship status, must be allowed to choose from among the valid documentation that proves their employment eligibility.

    This Complaint is a reminder to employers Ė do not request specific documentation from employees, regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens or non-U.S. citizens. If you do, you may be investigated by the IER of the DOJ. Such investigations are costly and subject employers to civil penalties and back pay if they are found to have committed this type of discrimination or if employers reach a settlement with the IER.
  2. Staffing Company agrees to Pay $175,000 in OSC Settlement

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    The Justice Departmentís Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has reached an agreement with TEG Staffing Inc., also known as Eastridge Workforce Solutions, a temporary staffing agency headquartered in San Diego, to resolve allegations that they discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    The OSCís investigation found that from about March 2014 until about September 2015, Eastridge had a pattern or practice of requesting specific immigration documents from non-U.S. citizens for the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes. In contrast, Eastridge allowed U.S. citizens to present whichever valid documents they wanted to present to prove their work authorization. Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, must be allowed to choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents to prove their work authorization, such as a driverís license and unrestricted Social Security card.
    Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which is effective for two years, Eastridge will pay $175,000 in civil penalties, attend training by the OSC through a webinar on anti-discrimination provisions, and undergo department monitoring and review of its processes for verifying the work authorization of newly hired employees.

    This settlement is just another example of the OSCís strict enforcement of the INA with large civil penalties.
  3. Indian couple pleads guilty to employing Undocumented Workers

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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    An Indian Kansas couple pleaded guilty in federal court to unlawfully employing undocumented workers. The husband pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern or practice of employing illegal workers and failure to collect federal income and Social Security taxes. His wife pleaded guilty to an unlicensed money remitting business charge. As part of their plea agreements, the couple agreed to forfeit more than $700,000 in cash, money from bank accounts, and gold seized by the government in this case. Those assets represent proceeds of their unlawful activities.

    This case arose when inspectors from the Kansas Department of Revenueís Alcohol Beverage Control division observed employees at the Route 56 Express gas station and convenience store in McPherson selling tobacco products to minors. The investigators determined that several employees at Route 56 Express were not lawfully in the United States, nor were they authorized to be employed. Local and federal investigators then assisted, which led to the return of the federal indictments in June.

    These charges carry maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The coupleís sentencings are set for November 25.



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