The Department of Justice (DOJ) is continuing to enforce anti-discrimination provisions within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). On October 9th, the DOJ announced that it reached a settlement with Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc. (“Mar-Jac”) of Georgia for allegedly discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens, a violation of the INA. Mar-Jac allegedly required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present specific documents, such as a permanent resident card, to prove work authorization but did not require specific documentation from U.S. citizens. The INA prohibits employers from discriminating based on citizenship or national origin. Employees, regardless of citizenship, have a right to choose which form of documentation they use to prove their employment eligibility. Mar-Jac will pay a civil penalty of $190,000, in addition to compensation for negatively affected workers. Read the announcement here.
In 2018, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP or “Bureau”) is on track to have the fewest number of enforcement actions in its seven years of existence. So far in 2018, the Bureau has taken six enforcement actions, compared to 56 in 2015 and 32 in 2017. During the third quarter in 2017, under former BCFP Director Richard Cordray, the Bureau levied $7.3 million in penalties, compared to $1.6 million in penalties during this year’s third quarter. Read more from Bloomberg Government (subscription required) and to see the Bloomberg BCFP Enforcement Tracker here.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a voluntary agreement with furniture retailer Rooms To Go over allegations of race discrimination, reaffirming the importance of compliance with its 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the use of criminal history information for employment screening purposes. The agreement resolves a complaint brought by an African-American applicant whose offer of employment was rescinded because of the company’s background screening policies. The 2012 Enforcement Guidance advises employers to use targeted screening that only show job-related criminal history information and advises employers against using general disqualification criteria, such as a felony conviction. The agreement also reinforces the point of using individualized assessments when considering criminal history information. Under the agreement, Rooms To Go will revise its policies to:
- Remove any blanket exclusions for criminal conviction from its screening policies;
- Remove criminal conviction questions from the job application and postponing or delaying inquiries about criminal history until later in the hiring process, such as after a conditional offer of employment; and
- Train appropriate personnel of its revised criminal background procedures.