DOJ Settles with Temple Beth El – Immigration-Related

Justice Department Secures Settlement with Florida Employer, Temple Beth EL to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims

(STL.News) The Department of Justice today announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with Temple Beth El, a synagogue in Boca Raton, Florida, that employs teachers and other staff.  The settlement resolves the department’s claim that the synagogue, in staffing its pre-school, discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen based on citizenship status when checking the individual’s permission to work in the United States.

“Employers cannot discriminate against workers by asking them for specific documents to prove their permission to work based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “Employers must allow all employees, regardless of their citizenship status, to provide any valid, acceptable document of their choice to prove their permission to work.  We look forward to working with Temple Beth El to implement this settlement and ensure its staff understands the correct process to use to avoid potential discrimination.”

The department initiated the investigation to determine whether the company was violating the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision after receiving information from a member of the public.  The department’s investigation revealed that the company discriminated on two separate occasions by asking lawful permanent residents to present specific documents to prove their permission to work in the United States while making no such request of U.S. citizens.  All employees have the right to choose the valid documentation they wish to present when demonstrating that they have permission to work in the United States.

The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from asking for unnecessary documents — or specifying the type of documentation a worker should present — to prove their permission to work because of a worker’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

Under the settlement, Temple Beth El will pay $4,144 in civil penalties, change its employment policies to comply with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and train its employees who are responsible for verifying workers’ permission to work in the United States.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.