How Unconscious Bias Caused Employer to Unintentionally Violate Anti-Discrimination Provisions
Elimination of bias trainings have become popular in the Human Resources and Employment law arena, with some states even requiring mandatory training for practicing attorneys. As a Hispanic woman, and practicing attorney I was interested in learning more about elimination of bias, so I completed a Diversity and Inclusion Certification Cornell University. As I was reading my daily list of immigration related legal updates this week, I noticed yet another DOJ settlement with a company for alleged discrimination based on employees’ citizenship or immigration status, the settlement with California based Fleetlogix. It occurred to me that this company most likely ended up making these costly mistakes due to the persistence of unconscious bias along with the lack of proper I-9 and corporate immigration compliance training.
A few details from the Fleetlogix just released settlement:
Fleetlogix just settled with the Department of Justice and agreed to pay $675,000 in fines for claims that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens by requiring them to provide specific and unnecessary work authorization documentation.
“The Justice Department announced today that it signed a settlement agreement with Fleetlogix Inc. (Fleetlogix) resolving claims that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens by requiring them to provide specific and unnecessary work authorization documentation because of their citizenship or immigration status. Fleetlogix, based in San Diego, California, operates offices nationwide that provide cleaning and transportation services to rental car companies. ... As part of the settlement, Fleetlogix will pay civil penalties to the United States totaling $627,000, create a back pay fund for individuals who lost work due to the discrimination, train relevant employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and change its policies and procedures. ... Download Settlement Agreement"
What did Fleetlogix do wrong?
It appears that Fleetlogix was trying to comply with form I-9 requirements, but accidentally discriminated by asking for more documents from foreign born applicants.
How can employers avoid this costly mistake?
Elimination of bias training combined with corporate immigration compliance and IRCA nondiscrimination training for your HR staff is the key to avoiding this costly mistake.
Elimination of bias training for employers should specifically include IRCA non-discrimination training. The actions that trigger the discriminatory behavior in violation of IRCA is often caused by the existence of unconscious bias, which happens at a level below our level of awareness. These unconscious biases, or automatic assumptions that persist within all of us impact how we see and how we interact with people. Having biases does not make us “bad people” but if our biases remain unchecked, specifically in hiring and onboarding new employees, we may unconsciously discriminate against work authorized individuals in violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act by doing something as simple as requesting a specific work authorization document or as simple as asking a candidate if they are authorized to work for any employer.
Business Immigration Attorney MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM
NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This article is for educational purposes only, it is not legal advice that may be applicable to our situation
The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.