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 Stanislaus County, California. The settlement resolves the IER’s investigation into whether the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department engaged in prohibited hiring practices in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation concluded the Sheriff’s Department improperly delayed rehiring a former deputy sheriff who was a green card holder/lawful permanent resident (LPR) because he was not a U.S. citizen. The INA prohibits employers from discriminating in the hiring process based on citizenship status against certain categories of individuals, including recent LPRs, unless necessary to comply with a specific legal requirement. Because the affected individual was an LPR who had applied for and was eligible for naturalization, he met all applicable citizenship requirements under INA and should have been rehired.

The investigation also concluded that Stanislaus County posted job advertisements for deputy probation officers, deputy sheriffs, trainees, and interns with language that unlawfully excluded applications from some eligible LPRs, in violation of the INA.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Stanislaus County will pay $7,000 in civil penalties, engage in training its human resources staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA through attendance at an IER webinar, review and revise its job advertisements and questionnaires to ensure compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and be subject to compliance monitoring for two years by the IER. The settlement agreement also acknowledges, after receiving notice of the investigation, the Sheriff’s Department rehired the affected individual with back pay for lost wages.