The Justice Department, through the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Labor Practices (OSC), has reached a settlement agreement with ComForcare InHome Care & Senior Services, a home care provider for sick and elderly patients in Tigard, Oregon. The agreement resolved claims that the provider violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when it demanded unnecessary documentation from a newly naturalized citizen in response to an initial mismatch in E-Verify and then refused to hire her when she did not produce it.
The investigation stemmed from a charge filed by the naturalized U.S. citizen. Contrary to the law, ComForcare failed to provide the charging party with written notice of her tentative non-confirmation and demanded she produce an “alien card” without which she would not be allowed
to start working. When the charging party informed ComForcare that, as a naturalized citizen, she did not possess an alien card, ComForcare demanded her naturalization papers even though she
had already produced proper work authorization documents during the I-9 process.
The investigation also established ComForcare requested that non-U.S. citizens and persons perceived to be non-U.S. citizens produce specific employment eligibility documents to establish their employment eligibility rather than allowing these individuals to show their choice of valid documentation.
Under the settlement agreement, ComForcare will pay $525 in backpay to the charging party and $1,210 in civil penalties to the United States. ComForcare will also train its human resources
staff about employers’ responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process and be subject to reporting and compliance monitoring for 18 months.
This case is an example of the importance of understanding how the E-Verify process works after you start to use it. As this case shows, an employer can unwittingly violate the law if it does not understand the process.
Bruce E. Buchanan is an attorney at the at Nashville Office of Siskind Susser, P.C. He represents individuals and employers in all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on immigration compliance for employers, and employment/labor law. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. degree from Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Buchanan has been in private practice since 2003. Beforehand, he served as Senior Trial Specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. He also served from 1991 to 2003 as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught courses in Labor Law and Employment Law. Mr. Buchanan was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Immigration Law Section from 2011 to 2012 and has been the editor of the TBA's Immigration Law Section Newsletter and the TBA's Labor and Employment Law Section Newsletter since 2009. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration compliance as well as labor law, wage & hour law and proposed federal legislation. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as the Advocacy Liaison of the Mid-South Chapter of AILA. Mr. Buchanan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) and is an associate member of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.