Content Editor: Maryjo F. Pirages Reynolds
Original Author Credit: Stephanie A. Grattan
1. An employer cannot refuse to hire workers who sound or appear foreign.
TRUE. All U.S. citizens and employment-authorized individuals are protected from discrimination based on national origin. National origin discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently in connection with hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee based on the employee’s national origin. In April 2011, an employer agreed to pay $18,500.00 in back pay to non-U.S. citizens and $3,200.00 in civil penalties as a result of its adoption of a policy to refuse to hire any individuals believed to be non-U.S. citizens. This policy led to human resources personnel rejecting all applicants who sounded or appeared foreign. Such a policy is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
2. An employer may not prefer to hire U.S. citizens, unless a law, regulation, government contract, or executive order requires that a certain position be filled by a U.S. citizen.
TRUE. Employers may not limit jobs to U.S. citizens unless required by law or government contract. In March 2012, an employer agreed to pay $100,000.00 in civil penalties after publishing numerous job advertisements that exclusively solicited job applications from the United States absent a legal requirement that U.S. citizens fill such positions.
3. An employer may require lawful permanent residents to present a new “green card” when an employee’s initial green card expires.
FALSE. Expiration dates on I-551 permanent resident cards have no impact on current work authorization. Employers are not permitted to re-verify expired permanent resident cards. In June 2013, an employer agreed to create a $100,000.00 back pay fund to compensate affected workers and to pay $175,000.00 in civil penalties because it previously required permanent residents to present renewed “green cards” when their initial “green cards” expired.
4. An employer may request specific documents from non-U.S. workers to satisfy its I-9 verification obligations.
FALSE. It is unlawful for an employer to specify which document(s) employees may present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents (Lists A, B & C). In January 2013, an employer agreed to pay $250,000.00 in civil penalties because it had a policy of requiring non-U.S. citizens to produce specific types of “List A” immigration documentation, such as a “green card” or Employment Authorization Document, during the Form I-9 process.
In October 2010, an employer agreed to pay $257,000.00 in civil penalties because the employer required naturalized U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens to produce a “List A” document after having already presented “List B” and “List C” documents, but allowed U.S. citizens to choose which documents to present.
In August 2013, an employer agreed to pay $9,157.00 in back pay to a non-U.S. citizen and $1,200.00 in civil penalties after rejecting the worker’s valid Social Security card and demanding additional documentation during I-9 process.
5. An employer may not use E-Verify to confirm the continuing employment authorization of non-U.S. citizen workers who are not subject to reverification.
TRUE. Employers may only use E-Verify for new hires, both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. An employer cannot use E-Verify to reverify employees who have temporary employment authorization. In May 2013, an employer reinstated a number of workers who had been improperly terminated after the employer attempted to reverify their employment authorization on the basis of their citizenship status when their employment authorization was not subject to reverification.
Maryjo Pirages is an associate attorney of the firm and a member of the Employment & Labor Law, Trusts & Estates, and Corporate & Business Groups. Maryjo counsels and represents employers in a range of employment matters, including statutory and administrative regulations compliance, contracts, and employee handbooks and policies. Maryjo’s goal is to work hand-in-hand with employers so that they may proactively implement and stay up-to-date with their policies in order to limit their liability and exposure. Additionally, she assists individuals and families in their estate planning and administration.