02.16.11

I-9 Verification and Document Abuse

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:43 pm by Lalita Haran

Employer education is necessary for I-9 or employment eligibility verification process. Compliance in ignorance of what practices are allowed and what are not can result in employer adopting immigration related unfair documentary practices. The government mandated process is to be undertaken in case of new hires or rehires of employees which may cause employers to overstep their bounds who may end up following practices that could expose them to discrimination claims based on national origin.

Employers are required to ask for an identification verification documents. But frequently, employer representatives would determine that one is a foreign national and require documentation showing proof of legal immigration status. Such practices are prohibited as inherently discriminatory in nature. Requiring that a job aspirant provide document of U.S. citizenship and in the absence provide proof of lawful status are unfair and discriminatory employment practice under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Because immigration is a hot discussion topic in the Congress, some state legislatures and also in public, many employers or their representatives, misguided of course, are resorting to unfair practices just to ensure that their workers are lawfully present in the United States rendering themselves vulnerable to discrimination claims.

The discriminated employee is entitled to compensation for the resulting loss including reinstatement and back wages while the employer would face civil penalty for adopting the prohibitory practice.

The Office of Special Council from the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported a few settlements during the first quarter of 2011. Reportedly, the employer required the foreign national provide a permanent resident card aka green card as proof of lawful status or required an unexpired green card upon expiry of the previous card and discharged the employee or refused to hire someone for failure to do so. The DOJ report demonstrates that the dollar amount of civil penalty is not so high if the employer shows its willingness to make amends i.e. pay up the penalty and the compensation and educate its representative, generally the human resource personnel about the anti discriminatory provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

More information on this may be found at www.usdoj.gov/crt/about/osc.
Worker hotline: 1-800-255-7688; Employer hotline: 1-800-255-8155

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