• The Justice Department reached settlement agreements with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Canvas Corporation, a vending company based in New York, after investigations into claims of immigration-related employment discrimination. The government alleged that AAP impermissibly allowed postings on its job search website for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals that limited applications to U.S. citizens and certain U.S. visa holders, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which generally prohibits this type of discrimination on the basis of citizenship status. Except in limited circumstances, an employer cannot require that a job applicant be a U.S. citizen or hold a particular visa status. AAP has agreed to pay $22,000 in civil penalties, train its personnel on the immigration laws pertaining to discrimination, and provide periodic reports to the Justice Department for a three-year term. Additionally, the government's separate investigation found that Canvas Corporation had posted job advertisements requiring U.S. citizenship and had a pattern or practice of rejecting job applicants who were not U.S. citizens, even though there was no legal requirement that the job be filled by a citizen. Canvas Corporation has agreed to pay nearly $25,000 in back pay and civil penalties, receive training on the INA's anti-discrimination provisions, and maintain and submit certain employment records to the government during a two-year time period.
  • The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Farmland Foods, a major producer of pork products in the U.S., after its investigation revealed that Farmland impermissibly required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens and some foreign-born U.S. citizens at one of its worksites to present specific and, in some cases, extra work authorization documents during the I-9 process, beyond what is required and allowed under federal law. The lawsuit alleges that Farmland engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing different and greater requirements on some individuals as compared to those born in the U.S. All U.S. employers are required to complete and maintain Forms I-9 for all employees. Employers should have a solid employment eligibility verification program in place, including procedures for hiring and ensuring continued I-9 compliance, and for preventing impermissible inquiries based on citizenship or national origin.
  • Subject to final approval by an administrative law judge, Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) has agreed with the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division to pay more than $4.2 million in back wages to 1,044 foreign workers as a result of violations of the H-1B temporary worker program. Further, as some of PGCPS's violations were found to be willful, PGCPS will also pay $100,000 in civil money penalties and be debarred for two years from filing any employment-sponsored temporary work visa or permanent immigration proceedings. The government's investigation found that PGCPS required its H-1B employees to pay government filing fees and costs associated with obtaining the H-1B, which should have been paid by the employer. PGCPS's scheme then reduced the workers' earnings below the amount they were legally required to be paid under the H-1B program.