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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

OSC Settles Citizenship Discrimination Claims; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), reached agreements with two companies, Travel Management Company and Isabella Geriatric Center (IGC), in early August 2014, resolving claims that the companies violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Under the INA, employers may not discriminate in hiring on the basis of citizenship status unless required by law, regulation, executive order or government contract. Further, the INA prohibits citizenship discrimination during the employment eligibility reverification process –for example, placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status.

In the Travel Management Company case, the investigation found the company had a U.S. citizenship requirement in its job postings for commercial pilot positions, despite the fact that no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized the company to restrict employment in this manner. The investigation further revealed that non-U.S. citizens who applied for the position were eliminated from consideration on the basis of their citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, Travel Management Company agreed to pay $22,000 in civil penalties to the United States. The company further agreed to revise its hiring and recruiting procedures, train its human resources personnel to ensure compliance with the INA, and be subject to reporting requirements for a period of two years.

In the IGC case, the investigation found that the company required lawful permanent resident (LPR) employees to present a new Permanent Resident Card, also known as a “green card”, when their card expired. The Form I-9 and E-Verify rules prohibit this practice because LPRs have permanent work authorization in the United States, even after their green card expires. The investigation also found that IGC required LPRs to provide proof of U.S. citizenship if they became naturalized citizens.

Under the settlement agreement, IGC will pay $14,500 in civil penalties to the United States; establish a back pay fund to compensate potential economic victims; revise its employment eligibility reverification policies; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for two years.

Both of these settlements demonstrate the seriousness of citizenship discrimination. An employer cannot restrict its applicants to only U.S. citizens unless required by law, regulation, executive order or government contract. Additionally, employers may not re-verify LPRs after their green cards expire.

A copy of the Travel Management Company settlement agreement is available here.
A press release on the IGC settlement agreement is available here.


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Size:  2.9 KB ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bruce Buchanan is an attorney with the law firm of Siskind Susser P.C. - www.visalaw.com - a full service U.S. immigration law firm representing employers and individuals nationwide for over 20 years. You can also follow this author on social media via Facebook and on Twitter @BuchananVisaLaw .

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