By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



In Sivasankar v. Strategic Staffing Solutions, 14 OCAHO no. 1354 (April 24, 2020), OCAHO found the employer did not commit document abuse against Manikandan Sivasankar. On November 12, 2019, Sivasankar filed a Complaint alleging Strategic Staffing violated § 1324b of the Immigration & Nationality Act by discriminating against him based on his citizenship and national origin and committed document abuse. Strategic Solutions filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.

Concerning the document abuse allegation, Sivasankar asserted Respondent refused to accept his EAD and H-1B Notice. Strategic Staffing asserted Sivasankar submitted a driver’s license and a restricted social security card. Since the restricted social security card is not an acceptable List C document on the Form I-9, a Strategic Staffing representative asked him to submit either a document from List A, or one document from both List B and C. Then, Sivasankar submitted a copy of his EAD card, which had expired, a copy of an E-Verify form, an I-94, and a copy of his Indian passport. Since the EAD card had expired, it was not an acceptable List A document nor were the other documents acceptable documents. So, Sivasankar submitted an I-797A Notice of Action, listing Amysoft Americas Inc. as the petitioner and Sivasankar as the beneficiary of an approved H1B visa, valid from July 27, 2018 to October 5, 2020. However, this approval was tied to a different employer; thus, it was invalid as it related to Strategic Staffing.

OCAHO found Sivasankar did not provide valid documents as a restricted social security card is not sufficient as it cannot be restricted; the EAD card was expired; the Indian passport did not contain an endorsement; the I-94 indicated Sivasankar was admitted as an F-1 nonimmigrant (student); and the I-797A was not tied to Strategic Staffing. Thus, Strategic Staffing did not ask for more or different documents but continued to ask merely for valid documents. As such, Strategic Staffing is not liable for document abuse. The issue of any citizenship/national origin discrimination was left for further litigation.

If you want to know more information on I-9 compliance and related issues, 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.