While it is quite common to learn that the U.S. government may question practices which are too lax on determining the legal status of a foreign worker, a recent settlement between the national employment agency SOS Employment Group and the U.S. Justice Department illustrates that the role of the federal government also protects the rights of foreign workers. The settlement was a result of an investigation into SOS Employment Group procedures which discriminated against a foreign national who had authorization to work in the U.S.
As an immigration attorney with years of experience in dealing with the federal government, it is always refreshing to hear that our government doesn’t act as if all foreign nationals are second class persons. In the case of SOS Employment Group, the government stepped in when a business was not according a foreign worker the rights and privileges accorded him through our Constitution and legal system.
In this case, a foreign national with a legal work permit attempted to secure employment through SOS Employment Group with the requisite driver’s license and an unrestricted Social Security card. In response, SOS Employment Group demanded that the employee also produce an Employment Authorization Document from the Department of Homeland Security.
The subsequent investigation into the matter uncovered discrimination on the part of
SOS against the employee due to his status as a foreign national. These actions are prohibited under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which outlaws policies, requirements or procedures which discriminate based on national origin or citizenship.
SOS Employment Group agreed to settle with the employee and the U.S. Justice Department. In addition to paying $9,157.50 to the employee in back wages as well as $1,200 in civil penalties to the U.S. government, SOS Employment Group also agreed to implement a training program conducted by the Justice Department that would educate staff about INA discriminatory practices. SOS Employment Group employment eligibility requirements would also remain under close observation for a period of one year.
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices is the lead agency in investigating violations of the INA. This office within the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department seeks to ensure fair and equitable treatment of foreign workers when attempting to seek employment.
As a long time immigration attorney in Texas, I have witnessed countless examples of foreign citizens receiving inequitable treatment by employers, social groups and government agencies. It is a pleasure to hear about cases like the current one with SOS Employment Group in which the Justice Department upheld the rights of immigrants as they attempted to work and serve as contributing members of society. While this type of response by federal authorities may not be common to every discriminatory immigrant employment case, it is worth noting that agencies like the Civil Rights Division are an available resource for immigrant workers.
Lyttle Law Firm is committed to its clients receiving the best possible legal representation in immigration and family law matters. To learn more about how Lyttle Law Firm can assist you, please call (512) 215-5225.