By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser PC

OSC.jpg OSC Poster If you have the right to work.jpg

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has reached an agreement with the City of Eugene, Oregon resolving allegations that the city violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation found that, from July 2013 to February 2015, the City of Eugene improperly restricted law enforcement positions to U.S. citizens at the time of hire, even though no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized such a restriction. Moreover, the investigation revealed that the City asked police officer applicants about their citizenship status with the intent to exclude any applicant who was not a U.S. citizen at the time of hire. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from limiting jobs to U.S. citizens except where the employer is required to do so by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract.

Under the settlement agreement, the City of Eugene must pay a civil penalty of $3,000 to the U.S. government, shall not limit police officer job openings to U.S. citizens, post OSC posters – “You Have the Right to Work”, train its Human Resource employees about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and be subject to monitoring by the Justice Department for a period of three years concerning any changes in employment policies relating to nondiscrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin.

This settlement is another example of a city or government contractor imposing job restrictions greater than allowed under the law. In the last two years, the OSC has resolved similar claims against the City of Waterloo, Iowa; Arapahoe County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office; and Data Entry Company Inc., a government subcontractor.