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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. DOJ Files Complaint Alleging Discrimination Against U.S. Citizens

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    The Justice Department, acting through Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), has filed a Complaint against Crop Production Services Inc. (Crop Production) of Loveland, Colorado, for allegedly discriminating against U.S. workers in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In announcing the Complaint, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated, “In the spirit of President Trump’s Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American, the Department of Justice will not tolerate employers who discriminate against U.S. workers because of a desire to hire temporary foreign visa holders.”

    The Complaint, filed with Office of Chief Administration Hearing Officer (OCAHO), alleges Crop Production discriminated against at least three U.S. citizens by refusing to employ them as seasonal technicians in El Campo, Texas, because Crop Production preferred to hire temporary foreign workers under the H-2A visa program. Additionally, the Complaint alleges Crop Production imposed more burdensome requirements on U.S. citizens than it did on H-2A visa workers to discourage U.S. citizens from working at the facility. For instance, the Complaint alleged that whereas U.S. citizens had to complete a background check and a drug test before being permitted to start work, H-2A workers could begin working without completing them and, in some cases, never completed them. The Complaint also alleged Crop Production refused to consider a limited-English proficient U.S. citizen for employment but hired H-2A workers who could not speak English. Ultimately, all of Crop Production’s 15 available seasonal technician jobs in 2016 went to H-2A workers rather than U.S. workers.

    Under the INA, it is unlawful for employers to intentionally discriminate against U.S. workers because of their citizenship status or to otherwise favor the employment of temporary foreign workers over available, qualified U.S. workers. In addition, the H-2A visa program requires employers to recruit and hire available, qualified U.S. workers before hiring temporary foreign workers. The Complaint seeks back pay on behalf of the workers, civil penalties, and other remedial relief to correct and prevent discrimination.

    This Complaint and Attorney General Sessions’ statement demonstrate the ability of the Trump administration to enforce Trump’s Executive Order - Buy American and Hire American. This is the second Complaint filed in two months alleging discrimination against U.S. citizens. I discussed the first Complaint against Technical Marine Maintenance Texas LLC in a prior blog post - http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?10034...tus-is-Unusual.

    For the answers to many other questions related to employer immigration compliance, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  2. OSC Settles Immigration-Related Claim Against Luis Esparza Services

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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    The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), within the Justice Department, reached an agreement with Luis Esparza Services, Inc. (LES), a farm labor contractor based in Bakersfield, California, resolving claims that the company discriminated against individuals because of citizenship status in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    The investigation found LES required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to produce documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security as a condition of employment, but did not require the same of U.S. citizen workers. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on workers during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status.

    Under the settlement agreement, LES will pay $320,000 in civil penalties, which is the largest civil penalty the Justice Department has ever secured to resolve a discrimination claim under the INA. Additionally, LES will compensate a worker who lost wages due to LES’s employment eligibility verification practices; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; revise its employment eligibility verification policies; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for three years.
  3. OSC Reaches Settlement with Colorado Sheriff; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    The Justice Department, through the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has reached an agreement with the Arapahoe County, Colorado Office of the Sheriff resolving allegations that the Sheriff’s Office violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The investigation found reasonable cause to believe the Office of the Sheriff improperly restricted law enforcement positions to U.S. citizens (USCs), notwithstanding the fact that no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized it to restrict employment in this manner. A former employee, who filed a lawsuit, was a USC and had documentation that showed her work authorization, but not her citizenship. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision permits employers to limit jobs to U.S. citizens only where the employer is required to do so by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract. Under the settlement agreement, the Office of the Sheriff’s employment eligibility verification practices will be subject to monitoring by the Justice Department and reporting requirements for a period of three years, the Sheriff’s Office agreed to pay $500 in civil penalties to the United States, and inform other affected non-U.S. citizen applicants that they could re-apply for available law enforcement positions. The Office of the Sheriff had already addressed the identified victim’s back pay claims through an earlier agreement based on her private lawsuit. Let this case be a lesson to employers – if there is no law, regulation, executive order, or government contract which requires the employee be a USC, do not restrict the position to only USCs.
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