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By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law
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.
By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser
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.