On September 27, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement agreement with Diversified Maintenance Systems, LLC, a janitorial and facilities maintenance services company based in Tampa, Florida, over allegations that it violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by failing to reinstate an employee who asserted her right to work in the United States. The settlement agreement was reached before the filing of a formal complaint against the employer.
According to the allegations, the company failed to give the employee proper notice and instructions about addressing an E-Verify tentative non-confirmation, leading the federal employment eligibility verification program to issue a final non-confirmation stating that she was not authorized to work in the United States. Although the employee timely visited the Social Security Administration (SSA) after receiving verbal notification that E-Verify had issued an initial data mismatch, she contended that her supervisor failed to give her the paperwork needed to resolve the issue. When the employee was terminated on account of the final non-confirmation, she contacted the E-Verify hotline for assistance, leading a program representative to contact the employer and affirm that the employee was, in fact, authorized to work in the United States. The employer, however, refused to reinstate the employee, triggering allegations that the employer violated the anti-discrimination provision of the INA by impermissibly retaliating against the employee for asserting her right to work in the United States. The INA prohibits discriminatory practices during the employment eligibility verification process, including retaliation against people who assert their rights or oppose an illegal practice under the INA.
The terms of the settlement agreement include $6,800 in monetary relief, including back pay and interest, as well as a $2,000 civil penalty and training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and proper E-Verify practices by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, respectively.