By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has reached a settlement with Hilton Worldwide (Hilton) to resolve allegations that Hilton discriminated against a foreign-born worker.

The settlement comes after an investigation into a complaint that was called-in to the OSC Worker Hotline. OSC’s investigation found reasonable cause to believe that Hilton engaged in citizenship status discrimination - “document abuse”, during the employment eligibility verification process in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Specifically, the department found that a Hilton-owned hotel in Naples, Florida, discriminated against an asylee by improperly rejecting his Social Security card when the hotel reverified his employment authorization.

The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from rejecting an employee’s work-authorization documents because of the employee’s citizenship, immigration status or national origin. The INA also prohibits employers from specifying documents that employees must present during the employment eligibility verification process, and employers cannot reject documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the worker.

Under the settlement agreement, Hilton will pay $550 in civil penalties to the United States; pay $12,600 in back pay to the worker who brought the complaint; revise its employment eligibility verification policies; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for two years in its owned or managed Florida Hotels.

This settlement demonstrates that employers, large and small, can benefit from incorporating INA anti-discrimination provisions into a company I-9 Compliance policy, and from conducting immigration compliance training.

A copy of the Hilton Worldwide settlement agreement can be viewed here.

siskind_susser_logo.jpg ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bruce Buchanan is an attorney with the law firm of Siskind Susser P.C. - www.visalaw.com - a full service U.S. immigration law firm representing employers and individuals nationwide for over 20 years. You can also follow this author on social media via Facebook and on Twitter @BuchananVisaLaw .