By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), within the Justice Department, has reached a settlement with Life Generations Healthcare LLC, d/b/a Generations Healthcare, a company that runs assisted living facilities throughout California. The current settlement follows a decision by the Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) finding that GHC engaged in a pattern and practice of document abuse against foreign-born individuals, including naturalized U.S. citizens, and discriminated against two foreign-born, work authorized individuals in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

This case began on September 30, 2011, when the OSC filed a lawsuit against Generations Healthcare alleging that it discriminated against authorized foreign-born workers by requiring them to produce more or different documents to establish authority to work than it required of citizens born in the United States, by refusing to honor documents tendered that on their face reasonably appeared to be genuine, and by engaging in a pattern or practice of document abuse against foreign-born, work authorized individuals. After a trial, OCAHO ruled in favor of the government.

The current settlement resolves issues in the case that OCAHO did not address in its earlier ruling. As part of the settlement, Generations Healthcare will pay $208,000 to be divided in the following manner:

- $119,313 in back pay to two victims of discrimination; and
- $88,687 in civil penalties to the United States.

Generations Healthcare has also agreed to change its hiring policies and be subject to monitoring of its hiring practices for the next two (2) years and will be required to do the following:

1) Revise its employment policies as they relate to nondiscrimination and provide them for review and approval by OSC within thirty (30) days of the effective date of the settlement agreement;

2) Advise OSC of any changes in the company’s employment policies as they relate to nondiscrimination on the basis of citizenship status and national origin at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of such revised policies;

3) Send all current human resources personnel, and all new human resources personnel to attend a compliance training webinar hosted by the OSC; and

4) Send OSC copies of completed Forms I-9, including attachments -- every four months -- for all employees hired during that period.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Ms. Vanita Gupta, took this opportunity to remind employers to “review their hiring policies and employment eligibility verification practices to ensure that they comply with federal anti-discrimination law.”

A copy of the Life Generations Healthcare settlement agreement can be viewed here.