By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc. The settlement resolves a charge brought by a lawful permanent resident whom Aerojet Rocketdyne did not consider for a mechanic position because of his immigration status. The investigation concluded Aerojet Rocketdyne violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Aerojet Rocketdyne builds and sells advanced propulsion and energetics systems to customers, including the U.S. government and private companies. The investigation determined Aerojet Rocketdyne did not allow the Charging Party and other non-U.S. citizens to apply for 12 mechanic positions, based on their citizenship status. The investigation also concluded the company misunderstood its obligations under federal regulations, such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), by mistakenly believing they imposed restrictions on the company’s ability to hire non-U.S. citizens, which they do not. The investigation also determined the company incorrectly believed that some of its government contracts required it to fill the 12 mechanic positions with U.S. citizens. When it learned of the investigation, Aerojet Rocketdyne was forthcoming and quickly changed its practices to avoid future discrimination.

The settlement agreement requires Aerojet Rocketdyne to take several steps to ensure it follows the law, including paying a $37,008 civil penalty, revising its policies that relate to nondiscrimination so that they prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship/ immigration status, and national origin in the hiring and firing process, and during any Form I-9 and/or E-Verify employment eligibility verification; training its employees who conduct hiring in its Jupiter, Florida location about the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision by attending a webinar provided by the IER; and being subjected to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for two years.

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