On June 27, 2011, The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Farmland Foods Inc., a major producer of pork products in the United States headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., alleging that it engaged in a "pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary documentary requirements on non-U.S. citizens when establishing their authority to work in the United States."
The Justice Department said that its investigation "revealed that Farmland required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens and some foreign-born U.S. citizens at its Monmouth plant in Illinois to present specific and, in some cases, extra work authorization documents beyond those required by federal law. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner during the hiring process, regardless of their citizenship status. “Farmland imposed different and greater requirements on non-U.S. citizens and foreign-born U.S. citizens as compared to applicants who were native-born U.S. citizens."
“Employers may not treat authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”
Often well-meaning employers, especially those who take their obligations under Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)- related to I-9 Employment Eligibility Form, seriously, err on the side of going too far. The solution is establishing written Corporate Immigration Compliance Policies and Procedures on IRCA compliance, which should include training of payroll and HR personnel on anti-discrimination provisions of IRCA.
Posted by Mira Mdivani
Corporate Immigration Attorney
IRCA Training available at www.I-9seminars.com