A delivery and logistics company based in Washington State will be forced to pay a civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Justice in order to settle a claim that it engaged in illegal discrimination against a non-U.S. citizen employee. Postal Express Inc. of Bellevue WA, which has also has locations in Oregon and Idaho, agreed to change its policies and also subject its employees to certain training as part of the settlement agreement, according to the Department of Justice. DOJ announced on October 12 that the accord with Postal Express resolves a charge received by the DOJ Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC). The complaint claimed that Postal Express. had discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
According to the DOJ, Postal Express required a permanent resident alien, who was authorized to work in the United States, to provide “a particular immigration document to re-verify his employment eligibility even though the employee had already provided sufficient documentation to prove his authorization to work in the United States.” DOJ contends that Postal Express had improperly required the employee to present a new Permanent Resident Card (a.k.a. as a Green Card), and then suspended him when he did not do so.
The Immigration and Naturalization Act prohibits, as part of a section on discrimination, employers from making specific documentary demands or requesting unnecessary work-authorization documents based on citizenship status or national origin when verifying or re-verifying an employee’s employment eligibility.
The OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.
Postal Express has agreed to pay a civil penalty, and to “train employees on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and to revise company policies to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.” The employee was reinstated, and paid lost wages.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who heads the DOJ Civil Rights Division, said in a statement “The department is committed to eliminating discriminatory barriers to employment for authorized workers.” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division commends Postal Express for working with the division to resolve this matter. We will continue to work with employers to help implement best practices in the employment eligibility verification process.”
OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The law prohibits, inter alia, discrimination on the basis of citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, as well as unfair documentary practices, retaliation and intimidation.
Vanita Gupta was appointed by former Attorney General Eric Holder. During her time at the ACLU, Gupta spearheaded a legal challenge that resulted in the release of 35 African-Americans falsely accused of drug-related crimes in Texas.
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