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I-9 Discrimination Results in Pharmaceutical Company Being Fined and 3-Years of Government Oversight

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Pharmaceutical Company is Fined $200,000 and Ordered to Undergo 3 Years of Government Monitoring for Allegedly Requesting Specific Documents During the I-9 Process

Department of Justice imposed civil sanctions of $220,000 and three-year government monitoring on a New-York based pharmaceutical manufacturing company LNK International Inc. DOJ alleged that LNK violated the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) by discriminating against work authorized non-U.S. citizens. According to the Department of Justice press release, LNK “routinely requested specific and unnecessary documents from non-U.S. citizens who are authorized to work in the U.S. in order to prove their status in contrast to U.S. Citizens who were given the option of providing documents of their choice DOJ, May 27, 2021.” IRCA prohibits such conduct. These alleged actions are in direct violation with the Immigration and Nationality Act as it states that employers may not request specific documents from any employee, citizen or not. In addition to the steep fine, LNK is also being subject to three years of monitoring to ensure that the company stays in compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Employers Who Fail to Provide Their I-9 Administrators Proper IRCA Non-Discrimination Training Can be Blindsided by IRCA Enforcement

LNK International Inc. most likely thought that the company was in compliance with the IRCA. It appears that their misunderstanding of the law surrounding the hiring and I-9 process may have led the company to unconsciously discriminating against work authorized non-U.S. Citizens. In our experience, we have witnessed a lot more inadvertent/unintentional discrimination than we have intentional discrimination. Inadvertent discrimination is most commonly a result of a lack of training of I-9 administrators on non-discrimination provisions of IRCA. In many cases, we find that employers with a lack of training mistakenly request specific documents from work authorized non-U.S. citizens. Many employers are blindsided in these situations because they are making an effort to maintain compliance, but a lack of proper training ends up costing the company hundreds of thousands in government fines, attorney fees, and significant time and resources from time spent complying with years of government monitoring agreements.

What U.S. employers should do to avoid similar issues

U.S. employers should establish Corporate Immigration Compliance Plans, Policies and Procedures based on ICE Best Practices, including annual IRCA non-discrimination training and audits of the employer practices. Employers should provide I-9 training for their HR professionals and I-9 administrators involved in the hiring process. Such trainings should also specifically include non-discrimination segments to train I-9 administrators on how to avoid overdocumentation and violating IRCA rules. To access an anti-discrimination policy in hiring and training on how to avoid IRCA discrimination, you can visit us

Useful Resources:

Leyla McMullen

Business Immigration Attorney


NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This article is for educational purposes only, it is not legal advice that may be applicable to your 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.


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