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 Adecco USA Inc. (Adecco), one of the largest staffing companies in the United States. The settlement resolves a claim that Adecco violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against a lawful permanent resident and other work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization.

The IER’s investigation began when a lawful permanent resident (LPR) complained about discrimination that occurred at Adecco’s Gardena, California location. Upon being hired, the worker showed the company his valid foreign passport with a stamp denoting his permanent resident status. Although this documentation is sufficient under federal law to establish identity and permission to work in the United States, the Adecco HR employee rejected the documentation, and asked the worker to present his permanent resident card instead. The worker did not have a permanent resident card so Adecco declined to hire him. After the opened its investigation, Adecco took immediate corrective action and hired the LPR without delay for the position he originally sought.

The investigation also revealed that an employee in Adecco’s Gardena office routinely requested that non-U.S. citizen new hires produce specific documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security to prove their work authorization, even when they had already provided sufficient proof of their identity and work authorization. The IER also concluded Adecco unnecessarily reverified the work authorization of certain non-U.S. citizen employees because of their immigration status. The investigation determined the commercial employment eligibility verification (EEV) software that Adecco used prompted Adecco employees to initiate unnecessary employment eligibility reverification based exclusively on workers’ citizenship status.

Under the settlement, Adecco will pay $67,778 in civil penalties to the United States, ensure its Form I-9 software complies with all relevant rules and regulations, revise employment policies related to immigration compliance, train its human resources personnel on the requirements of the INA’s antidiscrimination provision through attendance at an IER webinar, and submit to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for 30 months. Additionally, Adecco will ensure that relevant employees take a knowledge assessment tool to demonstrate their understanding of relevant rules.

If you want to know more about issues of citizenship status discrimination and 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.