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Immigration Law

DOJ Settles With Texas School District Over Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim; $140K Civil Penalty

DOJ, Nov. 22, 2016- "The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with the Aldine, Texas, Independent School District resolving allegations that the district discriminated against work-authorized non-citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The district is the ninth largest school district in the state with an enrollment of almost 70,000 students.

The department’s investigation, conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), found that Aldine required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents when reverifying their employment eligibility once their original documents expired. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making specific documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying or reverifying an employee’s authorization to work. Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, must be allowed to choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the lists of acceptable documents to prove their work authorization, and employers cannot limit employees’ choice of documentation because of their citizenship or national origin.

“Employers must ensure that their human resources staff understand proper hiring practices,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The INA prohibits discrimination because of citizenship status and the Civil Rights Division continues to enforce this statute around the country to remind all employers of their compliance obligations as well as to vindicate the rights of employees.”

As part of the agreement, Aldine will revise its policies and procedures, pay a $140,000 civil penalty and implement a three-year program to train employees, students and students’ parents on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. Specifically, the training program, which will be developed by Aldine staff, will be focused on educating adult participants in Aldine’s parent literacy/English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, 12th grade students enrolled in certain classes and the school district’s employees.

Aldine Settlement Agreement"