DOJ Settles with Large Health Care Organization Regarding Software-Based, Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims

On August 25, the Division of Justice (“DOJ”) introduced that it has settled an immigration-related discrimination declare with Ascension Health Alliance (“Ascension”), a Missouri-based healthcare group with greater than 2,600 websites – together with 146 hospitals and greater than 40 senior residing amenities – unfold out over 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Ascension violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it discriminated towards work-authorized non-U.S. residents based mostly on their citizenship standing. Ascension required extra or totally different paperwork than had been mandatory when these workers tried to reverify their continued work authorization.

Ascension Discriminated In opposition to Non-U.S. Citizen Workers

The division’s investigation decided that Ascension made an automated request that its non-U.S. citizen workers present new paperwork to show their continued work authorizations, even in conditions the place it was not required. Ascension, utilizing a custom-made employment eligibility verification software program program, electronically accomplished the shape I-9. The software program additionally tracked the expiration dates of non-U.S. citizen worker paperwork. The investigation revealed that Ascension improperly programmed the software program to ship automated e-mails requesting continued work authorization to all non-U.S. citizen workers, together with U.S. nationals, lawful everlasting residents, asylees, and refugees.

In response, the non-U.S. residents promptly introduced paperwork that didn’t require verification of employment eligibility. In some situations, Ascension additional required non-U.S. citizen workers to offer new eligibility paperwork with the intention to proceed working. In distinction, such e-mails weren’t despatched to U.S. residents and, due to this fact, they didn’t notify U.S. residents who had been approaching the expiration of their paperwork.

“Employers are reminded that while software programs may seem efficient, there is still a responsibility to ensure that programming decisions do not result in discrimination,” mentioned Assistant Legal professional Normal Kristen Clarke of the Justice Division’s Civil Rights Division. “This settlement makes clear that the Justice Department will vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws and hold employers accountable if their software results in unlawful discrimination.”

The Settlement

The settlement requires Ascension to pay the U.S. a civil penalty of $84,832.00. Moreover, Ascension will educate its workers on the necessities of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. It will embody offering workers with the Immigrant and Worker Rights Part (IER).          

INA’s Anti-Discrimination Provision

Federal regulation permits all work-authorized people, no matter their immigration standing, to decide on which legitimate, legally acceptable documentation to current to reveal the worker’s authorized work authorization standing. Non-U.S. citizen workers like lawful everlasting residents, refugees, and asylees, amongst others, have work authorization that doesn’t expire for a few years. Such workers are eligible to make use of a number of forms of paperwork as proof of labor authorization, similar to driver’s license, unrestricted social safety card, and many others.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Worker Rights Part (IER) is the company answerable for imposing the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. The INA prohibits discrimination based mostly on citizenship, immigration standing, or nationwide origin, in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a payment. The statute additionally prohibits unfair documentary practices and retaliation and intimidation.

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