January 26, 2015

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Diversified Business Consulting Group, Inc.

On December 22, 2014, the Justice Department reached an agreement with Diversified Business Consulting Group Inc., an information technology staffing agency headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. The settlement resolves the department’s claims that Diversified discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The department’s investigation concluded that Diversified’s human resources personnel required non-U.S. citizens, but not U.S. citizens, to present specific types of documents during the employment eligibility verification process to establish their work authority. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from specifying documents that employees must present during the employment eligibility verification process based on an employee’s citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement agreement, Diversified will pay $7,700 in civil penalties to the United States and undergo department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Diversified’s corporate office and its branches will be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting work-authorized individuals from discriminatory practices in the employment eligibility verification process,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend Diversified for working cooperatively with the division to resolve this matter.”

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; document abuse; retaliation; and intimidation.

To avoid costly discrimination claims like this one, consult with Cowles & Thompson to review your employment eligibility verification practices and train your staff on anti-discrimination rules.