By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), within the Justice Department, has reached a settlement with MCA Transportation, a charter bus operator headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The settlement resolves a claim by one of MCA’s employees that the company engaged in citizenship discrimination during the employment eligibility verification process in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The employee who made the complaint was a work-authorized asylee and alleged that MCA requested more or different documents from him than were necessary for the Form I-9. After OSC conducted an investigation, it found there was reasonable cause to believe MCA committed an “unfair documentary practice” in violation of the INA by requesting “more or different employment eligibility verification documents than are necessary on the basis of citizenship status”.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision specifically 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.

As part of the settlement agreement, MCA will only pay $660.00 in civil penalties to the United States, but for the next three (3) years the company will be required to do the following:

1) Advise OSC of any changes in the company’s employment policies as they relate to nondiscrimination on the basis of citizenship status and national origin at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of such revised policies;

2) Ensure that all individuals who are responsible for formulating, carrying out, and/or conducting training on MCA's hiring, firing, equal employment, and employment eligibility verification policies, including all managers and employees who have any role making employment eligibility decisions, such as completing the Form I-9 and/or using the E-Verify system ("Verifying Personnel"), are in possession of the most current version of the Form I-9, USCIS Employment Eligibility Verification Handbook for Employers and the most current USCIS E-Verify Manual; and

3) Send all new Verifying Personnel to attend an Office of Special Counsel Employer/HR webinar within sixty (60) days of hire or promotion.

This case is a great example why any employer, large or small, would be wise to have an I-9 Compliance Policy in place and consult periodically with an immigration compliance attorney. Be sure to read my prior blog post on Employment of Asylees and Refugees at:

A copy of the MCA settlement agreement can be viewed here.