By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice has reached a settlement agreement with WesPak Inc., an agricultural company located in Dinuba, California. The settlement resolves the IER’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against workers based on their citizenship status in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation concluded WesPak discriminated against lawful permanent resident workers (green card holders) by unlawfully requiring them to re-prove their work authorization when their original documents expired, even though the workers’ original documents, such as green cards, demonstrated they were permanently authorized to work in the United States. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from making unnecessary requests for documentation to prove work authorization based on a worker’s citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, WesPak will pay a civil penalty of $4000 to the United States, train its human resources personnel on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, shall cease its practice of tracking green card expiration dates, shall revise and/or create employment policies to prohibit requesting more or different Form I-9 documents than required, requesting specific Form I-9 documents at initial hire or reverification, or rejecting valid Form I-9 documents because of an individual's citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, shall have HR personnel must attend an IER employer webinar presentation, and be subject to compliance monitoring for two years by the IER.

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 http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.