Understanding the Settlement of an Immigration Discrimination Claim
On May 5, 2021, a settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against a North Carolina telemarketing company, alleging discrimination against non-U.S. citizen job applicants. The settlement serves as a reminder of the ongoing issue of immigration discrimination in U.S. workplaces.
Background of the Immigration Discrimination Claim
In 2018, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a North Carolina-based telemarketing company, alleging that the company had engaged in discriminatory hiring practices that discriminated against non-U.S. citizen job applicants. The EEOC asserted that the company had required applicants to present specific work authorization documents that were unnecessary for employment eligibility verification.
The lawsuit also alleged that the company had retaliated against a job applicant who had refused to provide the unnecessary work authorization documents.
Terms of the Settlement
Under the terms of the settlement, the telemarketing company agreed to pay $20,000 to the affected job applicant and to provide training on proper employment eligibility verification practices to its human resources staff.
The settlement also requires the company to submit annual compliance reports to the EEOC for the next two years, detailing its hiring practices, any complaints of discrimination, and any actions taken in response to such complaints.
Implications of the Settlement
The settlement serves as a reminder of the ongoing issue of immigration discrimination in the U.S. workplace. Non-U.S. citizens and immigrants often face discrimination and bias in the employment process, including through the use of unnecessary documentation requirements.
The EEOC’s settlement sends a message to employers that discriminatory hiring practices will not be tolerated, and that they risk legal action and financial penalties if they engage in such practices.
Moving Forward: Addressing Immigration Discrimination
The settlement underscores the importance of addressing immigration discrimination in the workplace. Employers should ensure that their employment eligibility verification practices comply with federal law and do not discriminate against non-U.S. citizens or immigrants.
Employees who believe they have experienced discrimination based on their immigration status or citizenship should report such behavior to their employers and, if necessary, file complaints with government agencies such as the EEOC.
Conclusion: The Importance of Fair Hiring Practices
The settlement of the immigration discrimination claim in North Carolina highlights the importance of fair hiring practices that do not discriminate based on an individual’s immigration status or citizenship. Employers should ensure that their hiring practices comply with federal law and that they create a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all. The settlement serves as a reminder that discriminatory hiring practices will not be tolerated and that there are legal and financial consequences for those who engage in such practices.
On November 30, 2012, the Department of Justice announced it reached an agreement with a subsidiary of Woodfin Heating, Inc called Gamewell Mechanical Inc that is based out of Salisbury, North Carolina. The company was charged with violating provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it terminated three employees assuming they were undocumented foreign nationals when they were actually U.S. citizens.
The company, which specializes in mechanical constructions and heating and cooling systems fabrication, received information that six of its employees were undocumented foreign nationals. The company proceeded to terminate six employees including the three employees that were actually U.S. citizens.
Gamewell Mechanical agreed to pay $10,560 to each former employee that was a U.S. citizen and pay a $9,600 civil penalty to the United States as well. Gamewell has also agreed to train its human resources employees about actions employers need to take in order to avoid discrimination against eligible applicants and employees.
Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, stated: “The anti-discrimination provision protects work-authorized individuals from being treated differently in employment based on discriminatory assumptions about their status. The Civil Rights Division is fully committed to vigorously enforcing the law.”
The anti-discrimination provision of the INA was enforced by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. The Office protects works during the hiring, firing, and verification of status process.
If you need more information about employment discrimination, you can call the OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-237-2515. You can also find more information on the Justice Department’s website.
Gamewell is now subject to reporting and compliance monitoring by the Justice Department for the next 18 months.
Source: Department of Justice