The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (NYCHH), which provides health care services to more than one million New Yorkers. The settlement resolves the department’s determination that NYCHH violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it denied a valid work authorization document to a worker based on the worker’s national origin.
“Employers cannot reject valid documents showing someone’s work authorization based on the person’s country of birth,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Federal civil rights law protects workers from discrimination that can occur when employers verify their work authorization. The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable employers who treat workers differently because of where they were born or their national origin.
The Department’s investigation found that NYCHH wrongfully denied a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to a worker who had been automatically renewed through a Federal Register notice applicable to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) individuals. The Department found that NYCHH rejected the valid document and delayed the worker’s boarding based on its incorrect assumption that the worker’s country of birth listed on her EAD must be the same as the country designated for TPS.
TPS is temporary immigration relief that allows qualified individuals from certain countries to remain in the United States for a limited period of time due to conditions in the designated country, such as ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. TPS workers, like all workers, have the right to provide valid documentation of their choice to demonstrate their work authorization. Federal Register notices that automatically extend a TPS worker’s work authorization explain that the worker does not have to show additional documentation or prove his or her citizenship status, and that the country of birth listed on the worker’s documentation does not have to match the the TPS-designated country .
Under the terms of the settlement, NYCHH will pay back pay to the affected worker to compensate for lost wages for which the department determined the worker was eligible due to the discrimination. He will also pay a civil penalty to the United States, train his staff on the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA, review and revise his employment policies and training materials, and be subject to monitoring by the department for three years.
The Division of Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER) of the Division of Civil Rights is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The law prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or hiring or referral for pay, unfair record practices, and retaliation and intimidation.
Find more information on how employers can avoid discrimination when checking someone’s work authorization on the IER website. Learn more about IER’s work and how to get help in this short video. TPS individuals who have questions about their rights can find more information on the IER website. Applicants or employees who believe they have been discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, hiring, or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify ), or subject to retaliation, may file a charge. The public may also call the IER Worker Hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for the hearing impaired); call the IER Employer Hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for the hearing impaired); email [email protected]; register for a live webinar or watch a presentation on demand or visit the IER websites in English and Spanish. Subscribe to email updates from IER.