Houston Community College Settles INA Suit for Unfair Treatment of Immigrants During Hiring Process
Houston Community College (HCC) has reached an agreement with the Justice Department to settle allegations that the college violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against immigrants in hiring.
An investigation by the Justice Department revealed that for at least the past two years, HCC unfairly required non-U.S. citizens to provide specific documentation to establish their work authority. The investigation also found that U.S. citizens were not required to provide similar documents.
This case highlights the importance of properly training hiring staff to comply with INA and understand the requirements under INA Act 274A to establish work authorization of job applicants. Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, stated:
“Employers cannot create higher hurdles for non-U.S. citizens in the employment process, including the employment eligibility verification process, than those required of U.S. citizens or those required by law . . . We commend HCC for restructuring its hiring processes to ensure that it will no longer be treating new-hires differently based on their citizenship status.”
As part of the agreement reached between HCC and the Justice Department, HCC will pay $83,600 in civil penalties and will create a $20,000 back pay fund to compensate potential victims who lost wages due to the discriminatory hiring process. Additionally, HCC will establish a centralized verification process and will undergo training by the Justice Department on the anti-discrimination provision of INA.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive discrimination practice and has broad experience fighting for the rights of employees who have been victims of discrimination and retaliation by their employers.