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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

OSC Settles Discrimination Claim against Oregon Homecare Provider; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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The Justice Department, through the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Labor Practices (OSC), has reached a settlement agreement with ComForcare InHome Care & Senior Services, a home care provider for sick and elderly patients in Tigard, Oregon. The agreement resolved claims that the provider violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when it demanded unnecessary  documentation from a newly naturalized citizen in response to an initial mismatch in E-Verify and then refused to hire her when she did not produce it.


The investigation stemmed from a charge filed by the naturalized U.S. citizen.   Contrary to the law, ComForcare failed to provide the charging party with written notice of her tentative non-confirmation and demanded she produce an "alien card" without which she would not be allowed
to start working.  When the charging party informed ComForcare that, as a naturalized citizen, she did not possess an alien card, ComForcare demanded her naturalization papers even though she
had already produced proper work authorization documents during the I-9 process.


The investigation also established ComForcare requested that non-U.S. citizens and persons perceived to be non-U.S. citizens produce specific employment eligibility documents to establish their employment eligibility rather than allowing these individuals to show their choice of valid documentation. 


Under the settlement agreement, ComForcare will pay $525 in backpay to the charging party and $1,210 in civil penalties to the United States.   ComForcare will also train its human resources
staff about employers' responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process and be subject to reporting and compliance monitoring for 18 months. 


This case is an example of the importance of understanding how the E-Verify process works after you start to use it. As this case shows, an employer can unwittingly violate the law if it does not understand the process.

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