In the professional staffing sector, discrimination is all too common, as one Utah-based agency recently found out.
The Department of Justice settled with 1st Class Staffing LLC, located in Orem, Utah, following claims the staffing firm breached the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The INA bars employers from placing additional documentary burdens on new hires during the Form I-9 or E-Verify processes due to their citizenship status. The Civil Rights Division's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices conducted an investigation into 1st Class' hiring practices and found the company was asking new hires who were not U.S. citizens to provide immigration documents to prove their worth authorization, while not making similar requests of citizens.
Complying with the INA
Employers must treat all new hires the same when filling out the Form I-9 or opening an E-Verify case. Though businesses have the right to confirm their new hires are authorized to work in the U.S., how they do so is largely determined by local, state and federal lawmakers. The INA prohibits employers from requesting additional documents from new hires who are authorized to work in the U.S. but are not citizens. Instead, for each new hire, simply request a qualifying combination of List A, B and C documents.
"The settlement calls for 1st Class to pay a $17,600 fine."
"Employers must ensure that their human resources, hiring and recruitment staff understand and implement proper hiring practices to avoid violating anti-discrimination laws," Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the Civil Rights Division, said.
1st Class to pay over $17,500 as part of settlement
Gupta expressed her appreciation for 1st Class' commitment to ensuring it avoids similar hiring behaviors in the future. Good faith efforts such as this can play into judges' decisions to reduce penalties, though other factors are typically in play as well, including the size of the company and its ability to pay.
The settlement calls for 1st Class to pay a $17,600 fine. The staffing agency is also required to deliver $760 in lost wages to the individual affected by the discriminatory hiring practices. The company will also join DOJ-sponsored training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and open itself to monitoring of its hiring practices.
It can be helpful to implement internal training on the INA to avoid similar fines. Additionally, hiring staff should be educated on the Form I-9 and E-Verify, if necessary, to avoid getting tangled up in a DOJ settlement.
Discover how web-based Form I-9 software can help to avoid discrimination during the I-9 process and schedule a live demonstration.