By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department has reached a settlement with Collabera, Inc., an information technology staffing agency. The settlement resolves the IER’s claims that Collabera violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens.

Based on its investigation, the IER concluded Collabera implemented a discriminatory applicant screening process in which its recruiters refused to pass on to clients non-U.S. citizens who held permanent work authorization unless they could provide an unexpired immigration document. It was also concluded that on at least 39 occasions, Collabera required non-U.S. citizens to present specific documentation to prove their work authorization because of their citizenship.

The INA prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin. Instead, in the INA, Congress determined that all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, may choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Collabera will pay to the United States a civil penalty of $53,000; pay $35,476 as back pay representing lost wages and interest to an affected worker; revise and/or create employment policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship, immigration status, and national origin in candidate screening, during the Form I-9 verification and reverification process, and in the E-Verify process and eliminate any prohibition on the referral or hiring of candidates who provide receipts that constitute or extend valid work authorization documents; train its relevant employees about the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, including reading the M-274 Handbook for Employers and attending a webinar provided by the IER; post IER’s poster, “If You Have The Right to Work”, in English and Spanish; and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.

If you want to know more information on issues related to OCAHO 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