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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

OSC Settles Immigration Claim for $153,000

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By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) reached a settlement agreement with Powerstaffing Inc., a temporary staffing agency based in Edison, New Jersey, wherein the company agreed to pay $153,000 in civil penalties. Powerstaffing was alleged to have discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The OSC’s investigation found that from June 20, 2014, until December 15, 2015, Powerstaffing had a pattern or practice of requesting specific immigration documents from non-U.S. citizens for the I-9 forms. In contrast, Powerstaffing 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 driver’s license and an unrestricted social security card.

Powerstaffing promptly resolved this matter by its staff starting proper I-9 practices. Besides the civil penalties, the settlement agreement requires Powerstaffing to be subject to OSC monitoring and review of its hiring policies for two years, and every four months Powerstaffing will provide OSC with a list of hires of all lawful permanent residents and OSC will choose 125 from the list to analyze their I-9s and documentation.

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