By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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The Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) reached a settlement agreement with Hartz Mountain Industries Inc., of Secaucus, New Jersey, to resolve allegations that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizen job seekers, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The OSC’s investigation found that Hartz discriminated based on citizenship status by publishing a job posting that required applicants for a particular job opening to be U.S. citizens, in violation of the INA. Job postings with citizenship preferences or requirements violate the INA by restricting employment opportunities available to work-authorized non-citizens. While there are exceptions in the INA that allow for specific positions to be subject to citizenship requirements, the position available at Hartz did not meet the criteria.

Under the settlement agreement, Hartz will pay $1,400 in civil penalties to the United States, train its human resources staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, revise its policies on requiring citizenship and other policies, ensure all postings or advertisements are reviewed by a trained individual in employment discrimination or by legal counsel, review its policies and be subject to monitoring by the department for a three-year period.

Although this type of violation is rarely seen, it can be prevented by legal counsel reviewing a company’s job postings.