August 24, 2016

Real Estate Company Fined for Citizens Only Hiring Policy

Company Fined for Citizens Only Hiring Policy

The Justice Department recently reached an agreement with Hartz Mountain Industries Inc. (Hartz) to resolve the department’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizen job seekers, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Hartz is a real estate development and management company based in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The department’s investigation found that Hartz discriminated based on citizenship status by publishing a job posting that required applicants for a particular job opening to be U.S. citizens, in violation of the INA. Job postings with citizenship preferences or requirements violate the INA by restricting employment opportunities available to work-authorized non-citizens. While there are exceptions in the INA that allow for specific positions to be subject to citizenship requirements, the position available at Hartz did not meet the criteria.

Under the settlement agreement, Hartz will pay $1,400 in civil penalties to the United States, train its human resources staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, review its policies and be subject to monitoring by the department for a three-year period.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to identifying and tearing down discriminatory barriers that prevent work-authorized individuals from taking advantage of employment opportunities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanity Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “I commend Hartz for its cooperation during the investigation and for working to resolve this matter expeditiously.”

Badmus advisory: In general, employers cannot limit hiring to U.S. citizens or specific immigration status. To avoid what could be a very expensive mistake, companies need to properly train managers and any employees who are charged with recruitment. For affordable training options, you are invited to call me at 214-472-2161.