The Justice Department announced today that it filed a lawsuit against Tuscany Hotel and Casino LLC in Las Vegas, alleging that the company engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in the employment eligibility verification and re-verification process. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to treat all authorized workers equally during the hiring, firing and employment eligibility verification process, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status. This conforms with the 14th Amendment’s protection against discrimination based on national origin, a protected class under the U.S. Constitution.
The complaint alleges that Tuscany treated non-citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the employment eligibility verification and reverification process by requesting non-citizen employees to provide more or different documents or information than required during the initial employment eligibility verification process, and demanded specific documents during the reverification process. The complaint further alleges that Tuscany subjected lawful permanent residents to unnecessary reverification based on their citizenship status after requesting and entering into the payroll system the expiration date of their Permanent Resident Cards (green cards) for purposes of reverification.
“Employers must not treat authorized workers differently during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The department vigorously enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA so that authorized workers are treated fairly in the work place.”
The complaint, which seeks monetary and injunctive relief, was filed before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) of the Department of Justice and served on the company on May 29, 2012.
The 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 from employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin, including discrimination in hiring, firing and the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.
Seeing the U.S. Dept. of Justice take action against businesses that subject non-citizens to a cumbersome and frustrating process shows the importance of treating all employees authorized to work in the U.S. with the respect and dignity that they should be accorded. More businesses need to be aware that any employment discrimination will subject them to the same penalties and liabilities that the Tuscany Hotel and Casino is currently facing.