April 14, 2011

Justice Department Settles Allegations of Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination

On April 8, 2011, the Justice Department announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with LFStaffing Services Inc., located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to resolve allegations that LF Staffing Services engaged in employment discrimination by improperly pre-screening job applicants and rejecting valid work authorization documents presented by certain groups of immigrant workers.

The department found that LF Staffing Services did not permit job applicants to begin the application process unless they were able to present documents sufficient to establish their employment eligibility and further failed to permit at least one individual who presented valid Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to apply for employment. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from refusing to honor valid employment authorization documents on the basis of citizenship status or national origin.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision protects all authorized workers from unfair documentary requests during the Form I-9 process,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to stopping workplace discrimination against citizens and work-authorized non-citizens alike.”

Under the terms of the settlement, LF Staffing Services Inc. has agreed to pay $1,100 in civil penalties and full back pay to the injured party. LF Staffing Services will also train its human resources personnel about employers nondiscrimination responsibilities in the I-9 process, and will provide periodic reports to the department.

The Civil Rights Division Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSCs responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which protects work authorized individuals against discrimination in hiring, firing and recruitment or referral for a fee on the basis of citizenship status and national origin. The INA also protects all work-authorized individuals from discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process and from retaliation.