Immigration Law

DOJ Settles I-9 Lawsuit for $215K - Louisiana Crane

DOJ, Aug. 31, 2015 - "The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with Louisiana Crane & Construction LLC (Louisiana Crane), a crane and construction company headquartered in Eunice, Louisiana, that provides services to oilfields.  The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed on Aug. 29, 2014, by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC).

The lawsuit alleged that from at least Jan. 1, 2013, until at least Sept. 1, 2013, Louisiana Crane required workers who are not U.S. citizens to produce documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security as a condition of employment, but it did not make similar demands of U.S. citizens.  The anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on workers during the employment eligibility verification process based on the worker’s citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, Louisiana Crane will pay $165,000 in civil penalties to the United States, establish a $50,000 back pay fund to compensate workers who lost wages because of the company’s practices, undergo monitoring for two years and train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

People who were authorized to work in the United States but were denied a job at Louisiana Crane, whose hire date was delayed by Louisiana Crane or were fired by Louisiana Crane between 2011 and 2015 because they could not show the documents the company requested to prove their work authorization, should contact OSC at (202) 305-0144.  Any unclaimed money from the $50,000 back pay fund will be donated to a non-profit organization in Texas or Louisiana.

“We see far too many cases of employers creating discriminatory barriers for immigrants who have permission to work in the United States,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “It is important that all employers examine their employment policies to make sure they are treating all workers fairly.”   

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.  Trial Attorneys Liza Zamd and Silvia Dominguez-Reese and Paralegal Isabel Otero of the Civil Rights Division worked on this case.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/webinars.php, email osccrt@usdoj.gov; or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee should contact OSC’s worker hotline for assistance."