By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Department of Justice, through the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), has reached a settlement with Themesoft Inc., a Texas-based company that provides consulting and staffing services to technology clients. The settlement resolves the IER’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against a work-authorized immigrant by refusing to allow him to continue in the hiring process, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation, initiated based on a worker’s complaint, revealed Themesoft engaged in citizenship status discrimination against an asylee by refusing to process his application because he was not a lawful permanent resident, U.S. citizen, or H-1B visa holder. Asylees have permanent work authorization, like U.S. citizens, refugees, and lawful permanent residents, so employers are generally prohibited from discriminating against them based on their citizenship status. The investigation also revealed Themesoft requested specific immigration documentation from the worker because of his citizenship or immigration status even though the INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits such conduct.

Under the settlement agreement, Themesoft will pay $12,000 in back pay to the Charging Party and offer him employment; $4,543.25 in civil penalties for the alleged citizenship status discrimination and the unfair documentary practices; post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision; train its Human Resources personnel on their legal obligations to not discriminate by viewing a free online IER Employer/HR Representative webinar presentation and reviewing the M-274 Handbook for Employers; review and revise, as necessary, any existing employment policies that relate to nondiscrimination based on traits or characteristics protected by law; for the next three years, provide the most current version of the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents to individuals in the same manner as it provides them with the Form I-9 to complete; and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for three years.