A private airline charter company in Indiana agreed to settlement terms with the United States Department of Justice regarding claims that the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act. Travel Management Company was accused of discriminating against individuals based on their citizenship status by maintaining a US citizenship requirement in certain of its job postings. The DOJ conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and found that TMC maintained the requirement for prospective pilots despite never being authorized by any law, government contract, or other official ordinance to make such a stipulation. The IMA dictates that employers are not allowed to make hiring decisions based in whole or in part on a prospective employee's citizenship status unless it is required by law.
The Settlement Terms
The department's findings also stated that TMC had willingly taken applicants out of the running for pilot positions who did not have official US citizenship. The settlement calls for TCM to pay a civil penalty of $22,000 to the United States as well as to make changes to its hiring policies that are more in line with the Immigration and Nationality Act. The company must also take steps to ensure that its human resources department complies with the INA and will be required to report its compliance measures for the next two years.
A spokesperson for the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office reaffirmed the INA by stating that employers are required to "give all eligible candidates an equal opportunity to compete for employment and cannot create unlawful discriminatory barriers to work." The spokesperson also stated that the Department of Justice maintains a strong commitment to "ensuring that employers do not unlawfully discriminate against U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals based on their citizenship status." The non-discrimination element of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the enforcement thereof is the responsibility of the Civil Rights Division of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.
Enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act
The INA was enacted to prevent exactly the kind of systematic hiring and recruiting practices that Travel Management Company was found to be engaged in. The Act was passed into law in 1965 and its supporters made bold claims about its potential for changing the ethnic landscape in the United States. Its supporters at the time, however, were relatively few and far between as most Americans were not convinced of the merits and potential benefits of such legislation and many made the claim that enacting such a low would do little if anything to positively affect American culture and race relations. In the case of the DOJ and Travel Management Company, many political officials believe that the settlement is an example of the effectiveness of the law and the enforcement thereof.
The Department of Justice as well as the nation's immigration attorneys take the Immigration and Nationality Act and its enforcement very seriously. If you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel regarding an issue directly or indirectly related to the INA or any other immigration law, please contact the immigration attorneys at the Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas or call their offices at 512-215-5225.