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Justice Department Secures Agreement with Climate Nonprofit to Resolve Claims of Employment Discrimination

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The Justice Department announced today that it secured a settlement agreement with Second Nature, a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts. The agreement resolves the department’s determination that Second Nature violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by posting discriminatory job advertisements that deterred non-U.S. citizens from applying for open positions.

“When employers advertise jobs only to U.S. citizens, they discourage and block other eligible workers like lawful permanent residents from applying, and deny them a fair chance to be considered,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will not tolerate national origin or citizenship status discrimination and is committed to knocking down these unlawful discriminatory barriers.”

After opening an investigation based on a worker’s complaint, the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) concluded that Second Nature posted a job advertisement inviting applications only from U.S. citizens. In doing so, the company deterred non-U.S. citizens with permission to work (such as people granted asylum or refugee status, and lawful permanent residents) from applying to the job advertisements and being fairly considered for the employment opportunities. The investigation further determined that the lawful permanent resident who filed the complaint was deterred from applying for the job because of the discriminatory language in the posting. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision generally prohibits employers from discriminating in recruiting or refusing to hire workers based on their citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, Second Nature will pay a civil penalty to the United States and pay the affected worker lost wages. The agreement also requires the company to train those employees who recruit on the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

IER is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices and retaliation and intimidation.

Find more information on how employers can avoid discrimination in recruitment and hiring on IER’s website. Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. Find more information on how employers can avoid citizenship status discrimination on IER’s website. Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify); or subjected to retaliation, may file a charge. The public can also call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email; sign up for a free webinar or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe for email updates from IER

This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.

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