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Rhode Island employer fined for wrongfully demanding work authorization documents

Company requested specific records from non-U.S. citizens, agency found

Posted May 15, 2017

The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with a temporary staffing agency in Rhode Island after the company was investigated for allegedly discriminating against non-U.S. citizens when checking their work authorization documents.

The antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on the employees’ citizenship or national origin.

The department’s investigation concluded that the company routinely requested that non-U.S. citizens present specific identity documents to prove their work authorization, such as a Permanent Resident Card (PRC), while not requesting a specific identity document from U.S. citizens.

Lawful permanent residents and other work-authorized non-U.S. citizens often have the same identity and work authorization documents available to them as U.S. citizens. The Form I-9’s Lists of Acceptable Documents includes a whole host of items from which employees must be allowed to choose to prove they are authorized to work in the U.S.

Under the settlement, the company must pay a civil penalty of $16,290, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, train their human resources personnel, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

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