Northern Indiana staffing company settles immigration discrimination claims with DOJ

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An Indiana staffing agency has agreed to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice over claims that it discriminated against a number of non-U.S. citizens by asking them to provide their green cards and rejecting their valid documentation required to work.

JMJ Talent Solutions Inc., a northern Indiana staffing company with locations in Highland, Portage, LaPorte and Michigan City, came under fire after it allegedly asked three individuals to present specific documentation to prove they had permission to work in the United States instead of letting them choose which valid documents to show.

The settlement agreement points to an incident in October 2019, when JMJ rejected valid documentation presented by a non-U.S. citizen to prove she was allowed to work in the county. Instead, it requested that she present specific immigration documents, including a permanent resident card with an unexpired date.

The DOJ also determined that the staffing company asked at least two other lawful, permanent residents to present their green cards and other documents that were not legally required to prove their authorization to work in the U.S.

Employers are prohibited from rejecting documentation that reasonably appears to be valid and to relate to the person who presents it, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision.

The INA also prevents employers from asking workers to show specific documentation and for more documentation than the law requires to prove their permission to work, according to the DOJ.

“Employers may not discriminate against workers when verifying their permission to work in the United States — such as by rejecting their valid documentation, requesting specific documentation, or requesting more documents than necessary — based on the workers’ citizenship status or national origin,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said in a news release. “All workers have the right to choose the valid documents they want to present for that process.”

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, JMJ will pay a civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury of $3,150. It must also post notices informing workers of their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, train its staff and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.

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