A Gardena staffing company will pay $67,778 in civil penalties to resolve a claim that it violated a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act by discriminating against a lawful permanent resident and other non-citizens when verifying their permission to work, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.
The settlement also resolves allegations that Adecco USA Inc., one of the largest staffing companies in the United States, requested unnecessary work authorization documents from non-citizens because of their citizenship status, according to the DOJ.
“Employers must ensure that their on-boarding software is compliant with relevant laws, and cannot make unnecessary demands for work authorization documents because of someone’s citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “We commend Adecco and are pleased that shortly after learning of the department’s investigation, the company re-hired an affected worker before he missed work and took additional steps to avoid unlawful discrimination.”
Under the settlement, the company will ensure that its software complies with all relevant rules and regulations, and that the firm will submit to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements. Additionally, Adecco will make certain that relevant employees attend Civil Rights Division-approved training and demonstrate their understanding of relevant rules, according to the DOJ.
The department’s investigation began when a lawful permanent resident complained about discrimination that occurred at Adecco. Upon being hired, the worker showed the company his valid foreign passport with a stamp denoting his permanent resident status. Although this documentation is sufficient under federal law to establish identity and permission to work in the United States, the Adecco employee responsible for hiring the worker was unfamiliar with it, rejected the documentation and asked the worker to present his permanent resident card instead.
The worker did not have a permanent resident card so he went home upset that he would not be able to get the job even though he had permission to work in the United States. After the department opened its investigation, Adecco took immediate corrective action and, among other things, hired the permanent resident without delay for the position he originally sought, the DOJ said.
The DOJ’s probe also revealed that an Adecco employee routinely requested that non-U.S. citizen new hires produce specific documentation issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to prove their work authorization, even when they had already provided sufficient proof of their identity and work authorization.
The department also concluded that Adecco unnecessarily re-verified the work authorization of certain non-U.S. citizen employees because of their immigration status. The probe determined that the commercial software Adecco used prompted Adecco employees to initiate unnecessary employment eligibility re-verification based exclusively on workers’ citizenship status.
Federal law allows all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, to choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States. Moreover, under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, employers cannot request more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization because of employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.
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