In October 2010, The Justice Department announced a settlement agreement with Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), one of the largest hospital providers in the U.S., to resolve allegations that CHW engaged in a pattern or practice of citizenship status discrimination by imposing unnecessary and discriminatory hurdles to employment for work-authorized individuals.
According the Justice Department, “CHW required non-U.S. citizen and naturalized U.S. citizen new hires to present more work authorization documents than required by federal law, but permitted native born U.S. citizens to provide documents of their own choosing. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from imposing different or greater employment-eligibility verification (I-9) standards on the basis of a worker’s citizenship status.
Under the terms of the settlement, CHW has agreed to pay $257,000 in civil penalties –the largest amount of civil penalties ever paid to resolve such allegations – and $1,000 in back pay to the charging party. CHW has also agreed to review its past I-9 practices at all of its 41 facilities in order to identify and compensate any additional victims of over-documentation who have lost wages as a result, and to devise and implement policies and procedures for ensuring best practices with regard to hiring and employment eligibility verification. Further, CHW has agreed to train its recruitment personnel on their responsibilities not to discriminate and provide periodic reports to the department for three years.”
I am posting this seemingly old news because Department of Justice has become very active in pursuing employer for immigration-based discrimination. Both DOJ and ICE have stepped up enforcement, so employers should engage in I-9 self-audits, obtain I-9 administrator training, as well as establish written immigraiton compliance policies and procedures to protect themselves from before DOJ or ICE get involved.
Posted by Mira Mdivani
Corporate Immigration Attorney