In the past three months, there have been four settlements with three staffing agencies and one private company reported by the Department of Justice. The three settlements with staffing agencies resolved allegations that the staffing agencies discriminated against non-US citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices is responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination provisions of the INA.
The Office of Special Counsel found a pattern and practice at all three staffing agencies of requesting specific immigration documents for Form I-9 and E-Verify purposes for noncitizens, but allowing US citizens to show what they wanted from the list of acceptable documents. To remind, federal law requires that every employer and agricultural recruiter/referrer-for-a-fee, or recruiter/referrer-for-a-fee, hiring an individual for employment in the United States, complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form, which is the Form I-9. This form verifies both an employee's identity and employment authorization. Specifically, two of the three agencies were requiring that job applicants show a US birth certificate. One staffing company’s job posting published on several job search engine websites required a US birth certificate. Hartz Mountain Industries, the employer who settled with the Department of Justice also required proof of US citizenship status in its job postings.
The amount of the fines in settlement were $175,000, $153,000, $1,400 and $1,200 respectively and all four companies will now be monitored by the Department of Justice and undergo a periodic review of their hiring processes.
Only a current Form I-9 is acceptable. On 8/25/16, the Office of Management and Budget approved a revised Form I-9 to be published by 11/22/16. Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013, but after 01/21/2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. It is therefore critically important not to print out a stack of I-9s for future use. Instead, always go here to print out the latest edition.
When completing Form I-9, an employer should ensure that: