Worker discrimination comes in many forms, including adverse employment action, disparate treatment, and other illegal and unlawful employer activities. In a recent case, the Justice Department has announced that it reached a settlement with a San Francisco bakery involving discrimination against foreign-born workers. According to the compliant, the bakery was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by improperly rejecting a worker’s valid work authorization documents. The case was investigated by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.
In accordance with the settlement agreement, the baker will pay $26,000 in back pay and additional compensation to the employee who suffered damages as a result of the discrimination. In addition to the financial compensation owed to the individual employee, the company has agreed to modify its hiring practices and has agreed to external monitoring of those practices for the next two years. Immigrants and other non-native workers may face a number of challenges in the workplace, but every worker in the U.S. has rights and can take legal action—even without citizenship. Employers are prohibited from making assumption about the validity of employment documents based on stereotypes and unfounded assumptions.
Employers who want to insulate themselves against civil rights violations can inquire about how to review and accept I-9 documentation to prevent discrimination investigations and penalties. The Immigration and Nationality Act protects foreign workers from discrimination in the workplace. These laws prevent employers from placing additional burdens on applicants who are authorized to work because of their national origin or citizenship status. The law also protects workers from discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment of employees.