The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Diversified Maintenance Systems LLC, a provider of janitorial and facilities maintenance services based in Tampa, Florida. The agreement resolves allegations that the company violated the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it failed to fully reinstate an employee in retaliation for asserting her right to work in the United States.
The charging party alleged that the company failed to provide the employee with proper notice and instructions for contesting an initial data mismatch in E-Verify, resulting in E-Verify issuing an erroneous final response that she was not work-authorized.
Although the employee immediately visited the Social Security Administration (SSA) after receiving verbal notice of the initial data mismatch and instructions from her supervisor, the employee alleged that the supervisor failed to give her the proper E-Verify paperwork that would have enabled the SSA to resolve the mismatch. As a result, the E-Verify program provided an erroneous final response, known as a "final nonconfirmation," to the employer, stating that the charging party was not eligible to work in the United States. The company subsequently terminated the employee, and the employee contacted the E-Verify hotline for help. An E-Verify agent notified the employer that the employee was authorized to work, but the employee's manager refused to reinstate her employment, allegedly because she contacted E-Verify and asserted her right to work under the antidiscrimination provision of the INA. The INA protects employees from discriminatory practices in the employment eligibility verification process, including E-Verify, and prohibits employers from retaliating against individuals who assert their rights or oppose a practice that is illegal under the provision.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company agreed to pay $6,800 to the employee, which included back pay and interest, along with a $2,000 civil penalty. The company also agreed to training from the Justice Department on the antidiscrimination provision and training from dhs on proper E-Verify procedures. The case was settled before the Justice Department filed a complaint.
The announcement is available here.