Postal Express Inc. recently settled with the Justice Department following allegations that the delivery and logistics company discriminated against a non-citizen, a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Non-citizens have the same rights as citizens during the hiring process, as long as they are authorized to work in the U.S. Any attempt to treat someone who is not a citizen - a Permanent Resident Card-holder or individual here on a work visa, for example - could be construed as a form of discrimination and result in civil penalties and other punishments. Postal Express - with locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho - had a favorable settlement compared to other companies, many of which have been required pay tens of thousands in fines. The delivery and logistics firm won't end up paying that much, but will have to make adjustments to its hiring process as part of the settlement agreement.
"Non-citizens have the same rights as citizens during the hiring."
A DOJ investigation found that Postal Express discriminated against a lawful permanent resident, according to a press release. Specifically, the company asked that the individual provide a specific document to re-verify its work authorization status, though he had already provided sufficient evidence of his lawful permanent resident status - which grants the greenlight to work in the U.S. The company asked that the individual provide his Permanent Resident Card, or green card. When he did not, Postal Express suspended him.
Citizenship status discrimination barred under the INA
The anti-discrimination portion of the INA prohibits employers from asking non-citizens for specific documents - or anyone for that matter. Employers should furnish new hires with descriptions of List A, B and C documents, and then let them decide which to bring in to confirm authorization to work in the U.S. This process should be the same regardless of citizenship status, otherwise employers could find themselves toeing the discrimination line.
"The department is committed to eliminating discriminatory barriers to employment for authorized workers," said Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division and principal deputy assistant attorney general. "The Civil Rights Division commends Postal Express for working with the division to resolve this matter. We will continue to work with employers to help implement best practices in the employment eligibility verification process."
Employers cannot ask new hires for any specific documents for the Form I-9.
Postal Express fined, required to improve hiring policies
The settlement agreement between Postal Express and the DOJ requires that the company pay a $1,000 civil penalty. The firm will also be required to post the Office of Special Counsel's "If You Have the Right to Work" poster around the office in places visible to employees. The agreement also mandates that the company's employees receive training on the anti-discrimination portion of the INA and that the firm change its policies to prevent discrimination in the future.
Postal Express was also required to reinstate the suspended employee and pay him any wages lost due to the discriminatory actions taken by the company.