Louisiana Crane & Construction, LLC recently learned that asking non-citizens for specific documents during the hiring process can be costly.
The Eunice, La., company - which provides service for oil fields - reached a settlement with the Justice Department, according to a press release. The fine follows allegations that from Jan. 1, 2013, until at least Sept. 1, 2013, the crane and construction firm asked non-citizens authorized to work in the U.S. to provide documents produced by the Department of Homeland Security. The request is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which bars employers from placing additional documentary burdens on any individual based on his or her citizenship status.
Louisiana Crane fined for citizenship discrimination
U.S. citizens, recent permanent residents, temporary residents, asylees and refugees are all protected from citizenship discrimination concerning hiring practices. Anytime an employer asks anyone who falls under the aforementioned categories for a specific document, unnecessary burdens are placed on that individual in violation of the INA. Companies caught engaging in this sort of practice can be subject to significant fines.
Louisiana Crane will pay over $200,000 following citizenship discrimination claims against it.
Louisiana Crane is now facing a substantial penalty following citizenship discrimination claims against it. The company is required to pay out a total of $215,000 following its settlement with the government. Of that amount, $50,000 will go to a back pay fund for individuals whose wages were negatively affected by Louisiana Crane's hiring practices. On top of that, the crane and construction firm will be required to pay a civil penalty of $165,000 to the U.S. government.
"We see far too many cases of employers creating discriminatory barriers for immigrants who have permission to work in the United States," Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, explained. "It is important that all employers examine their employment policies to make sure they are treating all workers fairly."
"Louisiana Crane will be required to pay a civil penalty of $165,000."
Citizenship discrimination fines add up in 2015
Gupta's assertion that there have been far too many cases of discrimination comes late in a year when the largest fine ever for citizenship discrimination was issued, in addition to numerous others. In May Luis Esparza Services Inc. reached a $320,000 settlement with the DOJ following claims that the California farm labor contractor had asked green card holders for specific documents during the hiring process in violation of the INA.
Earlier in the spring, a Maryland-based government subcontractor was also subject to a fine due to citizenship discrimination claims. The Data Entry Company Inc. was accused of twice taking an individual out of its applicant pool because she held dual citizenship status. This company's fine was on the opposite end of the spectrum from Luis Esparza Services' penalty. Its settlement mandated that it set up a $7,007 back pay fund and pay $750 in civil penalties to the government.
The series of fines lend themselves to the impression that the government is ramping up efforts to punish employers for breaches of the INA among other hiring violations. To avoid such penalties, it is important to avoid punishable actions such as citizenship discrimination by maintaining consistent hiring practices.