The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced the filing of a lawsuit against the University of California, San Diego Medical Center (“Center”), alleging that the Center discriminated in the employment eligibility verification process against individuals who are authorized to work.
The Center allegedly engaged in a pattern or practice of subjecting non-U.S. citizen hires to additional demands for documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security in order to verify and re-verify their employment eligibility while not requiring the same of U.S. citizens. The complaint seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the Center, monetary damages for any individuals harmed by the Center’s actions and civil penalties.
The Civil Rights Division Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (“OSC”) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“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. So for instance, one cannot ask a new hire presenting a Permanent Resident Card when completing the form I-9 to show additional documents of their work or legal status in the United States, such as also asking them to present a driver’s license and/or social security card.