DOJ and UPS Settle Florida Immigration-Related Discrimination Case
For more than twenty years our Citrus County, Florida, workplace discrimination attorneys have litigated employment discrimination cases in Florida courts. We’ve learned to use all tools at our disposal, including state anti-discrimination laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other federal laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is not the only federal anti-discrimination law. Provisions of other laws, such as the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), prohibit discrimination of certain types in certain situations. Pursuant to the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA, employers around the country are forbidden from discriminating against people based on their citizenship status or national origin. The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a settlement with United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) based on employment discrimination within its ranks. UPS’s alleged conduct serves as a reminder to citizens and non-citizens alike as to their rights and the protections they are afforded under the law.
The INA Prohibits Citizen Status Discrimination
The INA prohibits employers around the country from discriminating against U.S. citizens and work-authorized non-citizens based on their national origin or citizenship status. Employers cannot treat employees differently in hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee based on their citizenship status, so long as they are authorized to work in the U.S. Immigration status includes both current and prior immigration status–citizens, refugees, lawful permanent residents, asylees, and work permit-holders are all protected. Employers may not, for example, establish a policy of hiring only U.S. citizens or American-born applicants, unless a particular law or government contract requires that position be filled only by citizens. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision is meant to cover situations in which Title VII is not already an adequate venue for relief.
Documentary Discrimination: Employers Cannot Hammer Employees for “More Papers”
The INA identifies a number of specific practices that are prohibited as unfair and unlawful. Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6), employers may not request proof of citizenship or work authorization beyond the documents serving as proof of employment authorization and identity identified in § 1324a(b). Documents such as passports and resident alien cards serve as proof of identity and employment authorization, while a driver’s license or a social security account number can be used as proof of one or the other.
Once an employee has proven their identity and authorization to work in the U.S., employers cannot continue to badger current or prospective employees for additional proof of citizenship. Refusing to honor identified documents that appear reasonably genuine or pushing for additional documentary proof of citizenship or work authorization is unfair and illegal under the INA.
UPS Engaged in Unfair Documentary Practices in Jacksonville, Pursued by DOJ
The DOJ recently announced a settlement with UPS based on the parcel carrier’s alleged violations of the INA. The case arose after UPS engaged in unfair documentary practices targeted at a newly-hired non-citizen.
According to the DOJ, UPS hired a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) in Jacksonville, Florida. The employee provided his driver’s license and unrestricted social security card, which, per the INA, together amount to proof of identity and work authorization. UPS pushed the employee for additional documents, including his permanent resident card and a “work visa,” despite the employee having already provided sufficient proof of work eligibility under the law.
UPS requested the additional documents after receiving a data entry error notification from their E-verification software. The DOJ claims that, for U.S. citizen employees or applicants, UPS would normally check for a simple software error after receiving such a notification. In this instance, UPS chose to badger the employee for additional proof of employment authorization. Treating the employee as inherently suspect entirely because of his citizenship status constitutes unlawful documentary practices under the INA.
Under the settlement, UPS will be forced to pay monetary penalties, train employees in how to properly handle such data entry errors, and be subject to monitoring by the DOJ for compliance with the law.
Citizenship Status Discrimination Lawyers In Marion County, FL
Based in Ocala, Florida, and representing workers throughout Florida, our citizenship status and national origin discrimination attorneys in Marion County, Florida have dedicated their practice to representing employment discrimination victims. If you have experienced immigration-related discrimination in the workplace or have questions about your rights as an immigration or national origin discrimination victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our immigration discrimination lawyers in Marion County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes citizenship status, immigration, and national origin discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.