In its latest investigation, the Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Discrimination has a announced that it had reached yet another “six-figure” anti-discrimination settlement agreement to resolve allegations that an employer had failed to comply with I-9 procedures for noncitizens authorized to work in the US. Specifically, the DOJ brought suit against the University of California San Diego Medical Center (UCSD), alleging a pattern or practice of requesting excessive I-9 documentation of non-citizens. Specifically, UCSD committed “document abuse” by maintaining a policy of requiring Legal Permanent Residents to provide copies of their green cards, even though they had already met I-9 documentation requirements by presentation of a List B (driver’s license) and List C (unrestricted social security card) document.
Under the settlement, the hospital has agreed to pay $115,000 in civil penalties, one of the highest penalties ever assessed. In addition, the hospital has agreed to give supplemental training to its human resources personnel so that such staff will avoid discriminatory practices in the employment eligibility verification process and work with the DOJ to make sure that fair and legal I-9 procedures are being used across all University of California campuses, medical centers, and facilities.
Large healthcare organizations and higher education institutions have been especially targeted by the DOJ during the last 12 months, due to their diverse workforces and, multiple hiring sites. All employers should take care to implement I-9 policies and procedures which walk the fine line between verifying employment eligibility and avoiding immigration-related discrimination. For more information on this topic, the Duane Morris Institute has a one hour webinar on I-9 compliance and self-audits on February 15, 2012.
For more information on this or any other I-9 issue, call Valetnine at 215 979 1840 or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org