By: Bruce E. Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice has reached a settlement with DC Precision Machining Inc., which manufactures parts for medical devices and is based in Morgan Hill, California. The settlement resolves claims that the company discriminated against workers by requiring them to present specific work authorization documents depending on each worker’s citizenship status. The settlement also resolves a claim that the company rescinded a worker’s job offer when she refused to provide an additional document to prove she could work in the United States, even though she had already provided sufficient documentation.

The IER’s investigation began when a U.S. citizen filed a discrimination charge with IER against DC Precision Machining. Based on its investigation, IER determined the company rejected the worker’s unrestricted Social Security card to prove her work authorization, required her to provide an additional unnecessary document before she could start work and then withdrew her job offer when she was unwilling to comply with the company’s demand. The investigation also found that the company routinely requested unnecessary and specific work authorization documents from all new employees, limiting each new hire’s choice of documents based on the worker’s citizenship status. In particular, U.S. citizens were required to show a U.S. Passport or birth certificate, while non-U.S. citizens were required to present an immigration document to prove their work authorization, even when the new hire had already given the company another acceptable document that showed they were authorized to work.

Federal law allows all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, to choose which valid, legally acceptable documentation to present to demonstrate their identity and authorization to work in the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)'s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary or limiting employees’ choice of documents to prove work authorization based on the employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, DC Precision Machining will pay a civil penalty of $13,400 to the United States and $21,360.55 to the affected worker. Additionally, DC Precision Machining will train its employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, including an IER-provided training and be subject to monitoring for a two-year period to ensure the company is complying with the agreement.

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.