By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC


The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) agreed to a settlement agreement with Macy’s over allegations that the national retailer violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens at its Glendale, California, facility.

The OSC’s investigation was based on a charge filed by a lawful permanent resident (LPR) whose hiring was delayed in October 2015. The investigation found the employee was not able to begin working at Macy’s even though she showed sufficient proof of her work authorization because a Macy’s official incorrectly believed that LPRs were required to produce unexpired permanent resident cards, rather than any other document(s). The investigation also found that other human resource employees in Macy’s Glendale location were imposing the same unnecessary requirement on four other LPRS. In contrast, U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whichever valid documents they wanted to present to prove their work authorization. Under the INA, LPRs do not have to show their permanent resident cards when they start working; instead, they can choose whichever documentation the would like to present, such as a driver’s license and unrestricted social security card, from the lists of acceptable documents.

Under the settlement agreement, Macy’s will pay an $8,700 civil penalty, provide additional training to its employees and assess its employees’ understanding of applicable rules, and be subject to monitoring for 18 months, including periodically producing Form I-9 information to the OSC for review.

This settlement is just another instance of OSC’s aggressive approach to enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions under Section 12324b of the INA. To date in calendar year 2016, the OSC has settled eight discrimination cases. Even after all of this activity, I would estimate 50% of employers are not aware of the OSC and its authority.