This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
Following on the heels of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) $25 million settlement agreement with Apple Inc., DOJ has settled immigration-related discrimination cases with a New York City health care system and a staffing agency with offices nationwide. Below are highlights of the settlements:
NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. On November 16, 2023, DOJ announced a settlement agreement with New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHH), which provides health care services to more than a million New Yorkers. The agreement resolves DOJ's determination that NYCHH violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it rejected a worker's valid employment authorization document (EAD) based on the worker's national origin.
The worker's EAD had been extended automatically under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). DOJ determined that NYCHH rejected the valid document and delayed the onboarding of the worker based on its incorrect assumption that the worker's country of birth listed on her EAD had to be the same as the country designated for TPS. DOJ pointed out that Federal Register notices that automatically extend a TPS worker's permission to work explain that the worker does not have to show additional documentation or prove citizenship status, and that the country of birth listed on the worker's documentation does not have to match the TPS-designated country.
Under the terms of the agreement, NYCHH will pay back pay to the affected worker and a civil penalty to the United States, train its staff on the anti-discrimination provision, review and revise its employment policies and training materials, and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.
Kforce Inc. On November 15, 2023, DOJ announced a settlement agreement with Kforce Inc. (Kforce), a staffing agency with 36 offices across the United States. The agreement resolves DOJ's determination that Kforce discriminated against non-U.S. citizens with permission to work in the United States and excluded them from job opportunities based on their citizenship status.
DOJ's investigation determined that from at least March 1, 2019, to February 28, 2022, Kforce distributed job advertisements that contained unlawful hiring restrictions based on citizenship status or otherwise screened out candidates based on their citizenship status.
Under the terms of the settlement, Kforce will pay $690,000 in civil penalties to the United States and set aside $230,000 to compensate affected workers. The agreement also requires Kforce to train its personnel on the INA's requirements, revise its employment policies and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.