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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 U.S. Service Industries (USSI), a janitorial company operating in Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The settlement resolves allegations that USSI required non-U.S. citizens to present more or different types of documents as a condition of employment, while U.S. citizens were allowed to present their choice of documentation. The anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on workers during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status. The INA also prohibits employers from specifying documents that employees must present during the employment eligibility verification process.

Under the settlement agreement, USSI will pay $132,000 in civil penalties to the United States; establish a $50,000 back pay fund to compensate any workers who may have lost wages; revise its employment eligibility verification policies; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA for the next three years; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for two years.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Ms. Vanita Gupta, took this opportunity to remind employers that they “cannot create unlawful discriminatory obstacles for immigrants”, and large employers should “review their employment eligibility verification practices at all of their offices to make sure they are in compliance with the law.”

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