DOJ settles with firm that discriminated against immigrant workers

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The Justice Department announced on Friday that a $200,000 settlement with a staffing services company was reached after it was determined that they were discriminating against work-authorized immigrants when verifying their work authorization, according to a press release.

CitiStaff Solutions Inc. and CitiStaff Management Group Inc. (collectively CitiStaff) provide staffing services in the greater Los Angeles, California area. The settlement resolves the DOJ’s investigation into whether CitiStaff violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Under the settlement, CitiStaff will pay a civil penalty of $200,000 to the United States, train its staff on the law, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for three years.

DOJ investigators found that CitiStaff routinely requested non-U.S. citizens present specific documents to prove their work authorization, such as Permanent Resident Cards or Employment Authorization Documents, but did not make similar requests for specific documents to U.S. citizens.

The department’s investigation also found that CitiStaff unnecessarily required lawful permanent resident workers to prove their work authorization again when their Permanent Resident Cards expired, while not making similar requests to U.S. citizen workers when their documents expired.

All work-authorized individuals, whether U.S. citizens or non-U.S. citizens, have the right to choose which valid documentation to present to prove they are authorized to work, and employers should not reverify Permanent Resident Cards, according to the department.

The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to different or unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

“Employers must take care to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Companies should ensure that their practices at initial hire, and in re-verifying employees’ work authorization, comply with federal law.”

The division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.

On the company’s website, they list their hiring practices as follows:

1. Verification of Employment Eligibility. Done thru E-Verify.

CitiStaff is committed to comply with all employment eligibility requirements of United States US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Under Homeland Security Act 2002. We are committed to verify all any new associate to the requirements of these Government Agencies.

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