Settlement by Justice Department against Employer Discrimination
Last Thursday, the Justice Department’s settlement with a leading facility services company proved that the INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibiting employers from discrimination against noncitizens is a necessary and enforceable doctrine. ISS Facility Services Company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas and employs approximately 15,000 employees in the United States.
Based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Justice Department began an investigation on the company. The issue was whether the ISS offices in Dallas and Houston were requiring non-citizens to present specific U.S. Department of Homeland Security-issued documents to establish their identity and work-authority while not having the same requirements for U.S. citizens. The INA includes an anti-discrimination provision which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against noncitizens by demanding more or different documents than U.S. citizens would be required to present.
Pursuant to this provision, the Justice Department and ISS reached a settlement where ISS agreed to ensure that all its offices would provide training and comply with the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. ISS also agreed to pay $49,800 to the United States to identify and compensate any individuals who may have suffered economic injuries as a result of its practices. Additionally, ISS agreed to have their employment eligibility verification practices monitored by the department for the next two years.
As Gregory Friel, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, noted: “We commend ISS for its exemplary cooperation in working with the department to identify the source of the problems in its employment eligibility verification process at two of its offices and to work with the department in addressing those problems.” ISS’ settlement sends a message to employers that they must comply with the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and companies that fail to do so will be held accountable for their unjust actions.