By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice announced a settlement agreement with Taiyo International Inc. (Taiyo), a company that develops, produces, and sells various food and pharmaceutical ingredients. The settlement resolves a claim that Taiyo retaliated against an applicant in violation of the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Based on its investigation, the IER concluded Taiyo rescinded a job offer it extended to a naturalized U.S. citizen in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination. The IER determined, during the applicant’s three interviews, Taiyo employees repeatedly asked the applicant improper questions related to her national origin, citizenship status, the timing of her naturalization, and her valid work authorization documents. After Taiyo offered her the job, the applicant sent an email to the interviewers complaining that the treatment she received was discriminatory, and Taiyo immediately rescinded the job offer.

The INA’s antidiscrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring against employees because of their national origin, citizenship status, or immigration status. The statute also prohibits employers from retaliating against workers because they opposed unlawful employer conduct or conduct that they reasonably believe was unlawful discrimination.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Taiyo will pay $1900 to the U.S. government as a civil penalty, offer back pay plus interest totaling $10,400.00 to the worker, honor all valid identity and employment authorization documents, review and if need be, revise employment policies related to immigration compliance, train relevant employees about the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, through attendance at an IER webinar, post IER posters informing workers of their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.

If you want to know more about issues of citizenship status discrimination and employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.