The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Around the Clock Dispatch Inc., a freight and delivery services company in Queens Village, New York.
The settlement resolves the department’s claim that Around the Clock violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by retaliating against a worker because he asked for the department’s help in addressing his concerns about an immigration-related employment practice.
The department initiated its investigation after the worker filed a charge, and determined that Around the Clock suspended the worker for three days without pay because he called the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) to ask for help addressing a concern about the company’s process for verifying his work authorization. IER’s hotline program offers information and assistance to workers and employers to prevent discrimination and to resolve potential immigration-related employment disputes informally, when workers request such intervention. The INA prohibits retaliation and intimidation against individuals who oppose what they reasonably believe are violations of the law that IER enforces, including by calling IER’s hotline. Individuals who file a charge with IER, cooperate with an IER investigation, or otherwise assert their own or others’ rights are also protected under this law.
“Workers should not face negative consequences for raising concerns about actions that may violate the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We encourage workers and employers to contact the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section’s hotline for information on their rights and responsibilities, to help resolve disputes at the earliest opportunity possible. Protecting those who contact the hotline from retaliation is critical to ensuring its success.”
Under the settlement, Around the Clock will pay $3,600 in civil penalties to the United States and nearly $900 in back pay to the affected individual. The settlement also requires Around the Clock to train employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
IER, a section of the Civil Rights Division, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
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