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Department of Justice Settles with Brand Energy and Industrial Services for Employment Discriminatio

On Thursday, July 21, 2011, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) reported that it had reached a settlement with Brand Energy and Industrial Services and its subsidiary Industrial Services, LLC. The DOJ alleged that Industrial Services engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination while completing Form I-9 on its non-citizen workers.

The DOJ claims that Industrial Services office in Prairieville, Louisiana required newly hired non-citizen workers to present documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security for purposes of completing Form I-9. The workers were allegedly terminated if they could not produce the required documentation. Industrial Services allegedly did not impose the same requirements on its U.S. citizen workers.

Industrial Services allegedly agreed to pay a fine of $43,560 to the DOJ, $7,200 in back pay, plus interest to the injured party, train human resources personnel, and adopt monitoring provisions of its hiring practices.

Pat’s Take:

It is plain and simple. Employers must accept ANY document on the List of Acceptable Documents that appear to belong to the worker and genuine on its face. Employers cannot require that its employees produce specific documents when completing an I-9 even if the requirement applies to both citizens and non-citizens alike.

It is also discrimination for the employer to require more documentation then the I-9 requires. Employers must only accept one document if the employee produces a document from List A. Two documents are only required when the employee produces a document from List B and List C.

The DOJ recently made prosecution of employers for discrimination during the hiring process a top priority. Within the past few months I have heard of several companies being investigated, prosecuted, and fined by the DOJ for requiring too much from their workers when they complete I-9s.

We have developed a training to help employer’s educated their human resources on how not to discriminate against its workers during the process of completing an I-9 entitled "How to Balance I-9 Administration with Non-Discrimination and Diversity." Here is a LINK to upcoming training schedule.

Pat Mack Corporate Immigration Attorney

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