Nursing Center Settles DOJ Immigrant Discrimination Case

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 announced that it had reached a settlement with a San Diego-based skilled nursing facility to resolve claims that the center discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of federal immigration law. The settlement resolves claims that the facility violated the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") by requiring lawful permanent residents to produce specific documents to prove their work authorization while allowing U.S. citizens to provide any valid work authorization documents they chose. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Villa Rancho Bernardo Care Center will pay $24,000 in civil penalties to the federal government, undergo training provided by the DOJ on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to monitoring requirements. Villa Rancho asked lawful permanent residents to produce a green card during the interview and hiring process. However, lawful permanent residents are not required to show employers their green cards as part of the employment eligibility verification process. Lawful permanent residents can produce their choice of documentation from the list of Acceptable Documents for the Form I-9. This settlement agreement underscores the importance for all employers of making certain that those individuals completing the Form I-9 on behalf of the employer are properly trained on how to complete the Form I-9, including training on the discrimination provisions of the law. Proper training and appropriate I-9 policies and procedures are critical tools in preventing situations like the one discussed here from occurring.