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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

OSC Settles with City over Citizenship Status Discrimination; by Bruce Buchanan

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The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, an agency within the Department of Justice, reached a settlement with the City of Waterloo, Iowa, on January 30, 2014, resolving allegations that the city violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

An investigation was initiated after a charge was filed by a work-authorized, lawful permanent resident (Charging Party) alleging that the City of Waterloo refused to consider him for a firefighter position because he was not a U.S. citizen. The investigation confirmed that the City of Waterloo improperly restricted firefighter positions to U.S. citizens despite the fact that no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized the city to legally restrict employment in such a manner under the INA.

Under the settlement agreement, the City of Waterloo must provide the Charging Party with a new opportunity to apply for the firefighter position. If the results of the firefighter testing process show he would have been previously hired, the City must pay him back pay for the period of time he would have been hired in the absence of discrimination. If the test results show he would not have been hired at that time, but had a qualifying score, he must be placed in line to be hired at a later date if a firefighter position becomes available for which his score qualifies him. In addition, the city must pay $13,000 in civil penalties to the United States, make changes to its policies and practices to ensure unlawful citizenship requirements are not imposed, provide training to city officials, and be subject to monitoring by the department for one year.

This settlement demonstrates the OSC is continuing the trend of 2013 in vigorously investigating charges of discrimination under the INA and assessing fines against employers that violate the INA.

A copy of the settlement agreement is available here .

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