On November 10, 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Hoover Inc., a leading manufacturer of vacuum and carpet cleaners with facilities in Ohio and Texas, to resolve allegations that Hoover engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination by imposing unnecessary and discriminatory hurdles in the I-9 employment eligibility verification process upon lawful permanent residents.
According to the DOJ, Hoover required all permanent residents who presented a permanent resident card for I-9 purposes to produce a new green card when theirs expired. In contrast, Hoover’s U.S. citizen workers were not required to present new documents. Like U.S. citizens, permanent residents are always work authorized, regardless of the expiration of their documentation. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from treating permanent residents differently than U.S. citizens in the I-9 process.
The settlement requires Hoover to pay $10,200 in civil penalties. Hoover has also promised to train its human resources personnel about employers’ nondiscrimination responsibilities in the I-9 process, and it will provide periodic reports to the DOJ for one year regarding their progress.
The Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which protects work authorized individuals against discrimination in hiring, firing and recruitment or referral for a fee on the basis of citizenship status and national origin. The INA also protects all work authorized individuals from discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process and from retaliation.
For more information about employer obligations in the hiring process please visit our website at www.worksite-compliance.com