By: Bruce E. Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Department of Justice, through the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), has reached a settlement agreement with Around the Clock Dispatch Inc., a freight and delivery services company in Queens Village, New York, resolving a claim that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by retaliating against a worker because he asked for IER’s assistance in addressing his concerns about an immigration-related employment practice.

The IER initiated its investigation after the worker filed a charge and determined Around the Clock suspended the worker for three days without pay because he called the IER to ask for help addressing a concern about the company’s process for verifying his work authorization. IER’s hotline program offers information and assistance to workers and employers to prevent discrimination and to resolve potential immigration-related employment disputes informally when workers request such intervention. The INA prohibits retaliation and intimidation against individuals who oppose what they reasonably believe are violations of the law that IER enforces, including by calling IER’s hotline. Individuals who file a charge with IER, cooperate with an IER investigation, or otherwise assert their own or others’ rights are also protected under this law.

Under the settlement, Around the Clock will pay $3,600 in civil penalties to the United States; pay $870 in back pay to the affected individual; train its employees about the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision by attending a webinar provided by the IER; revise its policies and procedures 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 be subjected to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for two years.

If you are concerned about your company’s immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.