The Aldine Independent School District located in Aldine, Texas recently settled a Justice Department claim, resolving allegations that the district discriminated against work-authorized non-citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The district is the ninth largest school district in the state with an enrollment of almost 70,000 students.
In an investigation conducted by the Justice Department Civil Rights Division's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), found that Aldine required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents when reverifying their employment eligibility once their original documents expired.
However, current law prohibits employers from making specific documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying or reverifying an employee's authorization to work. Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, must be allowed to choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the lists of acceptable documents to prove their work authorization, and employers cannot limit employees' choice of documentation because of their citizenship or national origin.
“Employers must ensure that their human resources staff understand proper hiring practices,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. “The INA prohibits discrimination because of citizenship status and the Civil Rights Division continues to enforce this statute around the country to remind all employers of their compliance obligations as well as to vindicate the rights of employees.”
As part of the agreement, Aldine will revise its policies and procedures, pay a $140,000 civil penalty and implement a three-year program to train employees, students and students' parents on the requirements of the INA's anti-discrimination provision. Specifically, the training program, which will be developed by Aldine staff, will be focused on educating adult participants in Aldine's parent literacy/English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, 12th grade students enrolled in certain classes and the school district's employees.
Immigration law prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.
I hope this article helps you understand basic immigration requirements, but please don't consider it as legal advice or legal opinion about your specific circumstances. Immigration rules are complex so contact a qualified immigration attorney for qualified advice and guidance.
For legal advice and guidance for your unique situation, you are invited to schedule an immigration strategy session with me.