DOJ to Sue Georgia Poultry Plant for Citizenship-Related Discrimination

Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is increasingly active in targeting employers who do not properly train their Employment Eligibility Form I-9 administrators, including HR and payroll professionals involved in the hiring process, for citizenship-related discrimination. On July 14, 2011, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Mar-Jac Poultry Inc., a poultry processing plant in Gainesville, Ga.

The government alleged that “Mar-Jac required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens to present documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security in order to secure their jobs, but the company does not require U.S. citizens to show any specific documentation. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA’s) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional burdens on work-authorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.”

Many employers are unaware that their day-to-day I-9 practices do not comply with the law. Previous lawsuits initiated by Department of Justice’s OSC target employers for similar lack of training, and include allegations of immigration discriminations:

Farmland

Catholic Healthcare West

Corporate Immigration Attorney's Take: Best practices to prevent such lawsuits include: making non-discrimination part of your corporate immigration compliance plan, policy and procedures, watching for potential discriminatory patterns during internal form I-9 audits, providing I-9 Administrator training to HR and payroll professionals administering I-9s on behalf of the employer, and making sure that only trained I-9 Administrators are involved in teh I-9 process.

Posted by Mira Mdivani Corporate Immigration Attorney The Mdivani Law Firm

Resources:

I-9 Administrator Training from Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute

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