By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department has reached a settlement agreement with Sinai Health System Inc. (Sinai) in Chicago, Illinois. Sinai comprises Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center of Chicago, Holy Cross Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and Care Network, Sinai Children’s Hospital, Sinai Community Institute, Sinai Medical Group, and Sinai Urban Health Institute. The settlement resolves a claim that Sinai violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against non-citizen employees when verifying their work authorization.

The investigation concluded, from at least January 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017, a human resources employee responsible for verifying employees’ work authorization routinely required newly hired non-U.S. citizen employees to specifically provide documentation, permanent resident cards (green cards) issued by the Department of Homeland Security to prove employment eligibility. In contrast, U.S. citizen employees were permitted to present the documentation of their choice, such as U.S. passport or driver’s license and Social Security card, to establish their work authorization. Federal law allows individuals, regardless of citizenship status, the right to choose which document to present to demonstrate their authority to work in the United States. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, Sinai will pay $7,000 in civil penalties to the United States, shall review its employment policies and revise such policies to prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship, immigration status and national origin, HR personnel must attend an IER employer webinar presentation, Sinai will make available IER materials containing information about IER and the anti-discrimination provision of the INA at various locations, and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.

If you want to know more information on issues related to employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at