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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh is an active member.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on April 17, 2024, that it secured a settlement agreement with Washington University, a private university headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. The agreement resolves DOJ’s determination that the university’s medical school, known as Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WashU School of Medicine), violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against a worker based on his citizenship status and then retaliating against him for complaining about the discrimination.

Specifically, DOJ said that the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) determined that WashU School of Medicine discriminated against the individual, who had been granted asylum, when it repeatedly confronted him about his immigration status, his documentation and his right to work, even though he had provided sufficient proof of his authorization to work. The department also determined that WashU School of Medicine retaliated against the worker when it terminated his employment for complaining about the discrimination.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the school will pay civil penalties of $4,465 to the United States and pay $3,264 in back pay, plus interest, to the affected worker. The agreement also requires the school to train its personnel on the INA’s antidiscrimination requirements, revise its employment policies, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

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