By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

doj.jpgOffice_of_Special_Counsel_Graphic.jpg Select_Staffing.jpg

The Justice Department, through the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, has reached a settlement with Santa Barbara, CA based Real Time Staffing Services, LLC more commonly known as Select Staffing – a national staffing company with more than 400 offices throughout the United States. The settlement resolves claims that the company engaged in discriminatory documentary requests based on citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

An investigation by the Justice Department found there was reasonable cause to believe that Select Staffing subjected work-authorized non-U.S. citizen new hires to unlawful demands for specific documentation issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in order to verify their employment eligibility, while U.S. citizens were allowed to present their choice of documentation.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement agreement, Select Staffing will pay $230,000 in civil penalties to the United States, establish a $35,000 back pay fund for lost wages, undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, revise its employment eligibility verification policies and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of three years.

Going forward, Select Staffing has agreed to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility certification and re-verification process by doing the following:

1) honoring documentation that on its face reasonably appears to be genuine, relates to the person, and satisfies the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(b);
2) not requesting more or different documents than are required by law; and
3) permitting all employees to present any document or combination of documents acceptable by law.

This case follows others that were referred to the Department of Justice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on alleged abuses or discrepancies USCIS discovered within its E-Verify system. As I have noted in past blog posts, such referrals are becoming more common in OSC cases.

A copy of the settlement agreement is available here.