August 15, 2016

Staffing Company Fined $175,000 for Discrimination Against Non-Citizens

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with TEG Staffing Inc., also known as Eastridge Workforce Solutions, a temporary staffing agency headquartered in San Diego, to resolve allegations that their Mira Mesa, California, office discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The department’s investigation found that from at least March 2014 until at least September 2015, Eastridge had a pattern or practice of requesting specific immigration documents from non-U.S. citizens for the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes. In contrast, Eastridge allowed U.S. citizens to present whichever valid documents they wanted to present to prove their work authorization. Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, must be allowed to choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents to prove their work authorization, such as a driver’s license and unrestricted Social Security card. It is unlawful for an employer to limit employees’ choice of documentation because of their citizenship or immigration status.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Eastridge will pay $175,000 in civil penalties, and among other provisions, will undergo department monitoring and review of its processes for verifying the work authorization of newly hired employees.

“Staffing agencies and employers must comply with federal law to ensure they don’t discriminate against lawful, authorized U.S. workers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Workers who get a job through a staffing agency should not confront unfair and unlawful barriers to joining the workforce and contributing to our economy.”

Badmus advisory: Employers must never ask new hires for a specific document to prove work authorization. To avoid what could be a very expensive mistake, companies need to properly train managers and any employees who are charged with completing I-9 forms. For affordable training options, you are invited to call me at 214-472-2161.