National retailer, Macy’s, agreed to settle the Department of Justice’s allegations that it violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens at its Glendale, California, location.
The department’s investigation was based on a charge filed by a lawful permanent resident whose hiring was delayed in October 2015. The charging party alleged, and the investigation found, that she was not able to begin working at Macy’s even though she showed sufficient proof of her work authorization because a Macy’s hiring official incorrectly believed that lawful permanent residents were required to produce unexpired permanent resident cards. The investigation also found that other human resource employees in Macy’s Glendale location were imposing the same unnecessary requirement on four other lawful permanent residents. In contrast, U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whichever valid documents they wanted to present to prove their work authorization. Under the INA, lawful permanent residents do not have to show their permanent resident cards when they start working. Instead, like all workers, they can choose whichever documentation the would like to present, such as a driver’s license and unrestricted social security card, from the lists of acceptable documents.
Under the settlement agreement, Macy’s will, among other things, provide additional training to its employees and assess its employees’ understanding of applicable rules. Macy’s will also pay an $8,700 civil penalty and periodically produce Form I-9 information to the department for review.
“Macy’s did the right thing by immediately resolving the charging party’s delayed hiring and by giving her full back pay,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “All employers should take care not to impose unlawful burdens on employees because of their citizenship or immigration status and address issues promptly when they make mistakes.”
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The law prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices in employment eligibility verification; retaliation and intimidation.
Badmus advisory: Employers must never ask new hires for a specific document to prove work authorization. To avoid what could be a very expensive mistake, companies need to properly train managers and any employees who are charged with completing I-9 forms. For affordable training options, you are invited to call me at 214-393-4917.