The Justice Department recently reached a settlement with Themesoft Inc (Themesoft), a Texas-based technology consulting and staffing company. After an extensive investigation of the company’s refusal to refer a work-authorized immigrant to a client, the company was found to have violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A former worker of Themesoft accused management of discriminating against him because of his citizen status as an asylum seeker.
According to the complaint, Themesoft refused to refer the asylum seeker’s application to one of their clients, citing his lack of a lawful permanent resident status, U.S. citizenship, and H-1B visa. The US government, however, grants asylum seekers work authorization, allowing them to find employment just as any lawful permanent resident and U.S. citizen is able to.
Themesoft was also found to have violated the INA’s anti-discrimination provision by demanding specific immigration documentation from the asylum seeker due to his immigration status. Under the provision, employers are strictly prohibited from requiring documents from immigrant workers pertaining to their citizenship, immigration statuses, or country of origin beyond those specified by law.
Themesoft decided to settle with the asylum seeker, agreeing to pay civil penalties to make up for his citizenship status discrimination and for overstepping documentary requirements for the immigrant worker. He will also be compensated for back pay that totals over $12,000 and has been invited to once again work for the company.
As part of the company’s ongoing internal reforms, management has plans to inform its workers of the rights provided to them by the INA, including the anti-discrimination provision, as well as require mandatory staff training and open its doors to departmental monitoring for at least three years.
“The Department vigorously protects all workers from citizenship status discrimination when employers have no legal basis for their action. This settlement also serves as a reminder that the INA’s anti-discrimination provision extends to companies that refer workers to third party clients, and that all employers should be mindful of their compliance obligations,” said John Gore, who serves as the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division
Formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is a division in the Justice Department devoted specifically to enforcing the anti-discrimination provision in the INA.
The provision prohibits discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin at all levels of employment—hiring, firing, recruitment, referral, unfair documentary practices, retaliation, and intimidation.
If you would like to learn more about this latest development in U.S. immigration policy, or have a loved one seeking asylum in the country, don’t hesitate to sit down for a consultation with the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to talk to immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.