Nationwide Staffing Agency Settles Hiring Discrimination Claims
January 02, 2024
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with a nationwide staffing agency to resolve allegations that the employer violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). According to the DOJ’s determination, the employer had denied employment opportunities to non-U.S. citizens in violation of the INA’s requirements based on their citizenship status.
Assistant Attorney Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division stated, “Companies cannot unlawfully exclude people with permission to work in the United States from job opportunities because of their citizenship status. The Justice Department will continue to hold those accountable who engage in behavior that runs afoul of our nation’s federal civil rights laws.”
From roughly March 1, 2019, to February 28, 2022, the staffing agency placed advertisements for jobs with illegal restrictions. For example, the company included hiring restrictions or screened out candidates based on citizenship status. This discrimination hurts applicants or employees who are asylees, refugees, and lawful permanent residents. It illegally discourages them from applying for jobs or leads hiring managers to ignore the applications.
The settlement will require the staffing agency to pay the government $690,000 in civil penalties. The agency must also set aside $230,000 to compensate workers affected by the illegal practices. In addition to these penalties, the staffing agency must train its workers to the requirements of the INA, change its employment policies, be subject to monitoring by the DOJ, and meet certain reporting requirements.
The INA Provision
The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division enforces the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. This statute prohibits employers from discriminating against U.S. citizens and other individuals with authorization to work in the United States. According to the INA,
“Generally, employers are not allowed to treat individuals differently in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral for a fee because of their citizenship status. 8 USC. § 1324b(a)(1)(B). Citizenship status includes a person’s current or prior immigration status. U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees, and recent lawful permanent residents are protected from citizenship status discrimination.”
This case exemplifies the importance of complying with the INA during the hiring process. Failure to comply with the INA’s provisions can result in costly fines and penalties. One crucial step your company can take to help comply with the INA and other employment regulations is to partner with a trusted background check company. The right partner will use their experience to deliver accurate, timely, and compliant reports.
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