By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has settled a case with Commercial Cleaning Systems, a janitorial services company based in Denver, Colorado. The agreement resolves claims that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation was initiated based on a referral from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The investigation found Commercial Cleaning Systems required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present specific documentation issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in order to verify their employment eligibility, while U.S. citizens were permitted to present their choice of documentation.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits Commercial Cleaning Systems’ actions. Specifically, the anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement agreement, Commercial Cleaning Systems will pay $53,550 in civil penalties, create a $25,000 back pay fund to compensate individuals who may have lost wages as a result of the company’s discriminatory document practices, and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for one year.

Referrals from USCIS, such as in this case, are based on review of E-Verify data by the Monitoring and Compliance (M&C) Branch of USCIS. Apparently, M&C has been busy in 2014 as most of the OSC settlements have been initiated on referrals from USCIS.

A copy of the settlement agreement is available here.