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Church Legal Center
Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA
8950 Dr. MLK Jr. Street North Suite 160
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
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Hiring Non US Citizens with Certain Identification

Dear Clients and Friends,

Recently the US Justice Department (“JD”) issued notice of a settlement with a Florida based nonprofit Temple Beth El, a synagogue in Boca Raton that employs teachers and other staff for improper hiring of non US citizens. Basically the Synagogue discriminated against a prospective employee by requiring them to present specific documentation to prove they had permission to work in the United States instead of letting them choose which identification to present. This resulted in a settlement including an agreed civil penalty for $4,144.00.

The Justice Department stated in the case “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.” The lesson- Employers must allow the prospective employee to provide any valid, acceptable document of their choice to prove permission to work. I am attaching a copy of the settlement agreement for your review.

In another case just two weeks before the Synagogue came down JMJ Talent Solutions (“JMJ”) was charged with the same type violation. In their case the JD said JMJ likewise requested three applicants to present specific immigration documents, including a “Permanent Resident Card with an unexpired date”.

The JD stated ” The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from rejecting documentation that reasonably appears to be valid and to relate to the person who presents it, from asking workers to show specific documentation, and from asking for more documentation than the law requires to prove their permission to work. Employers that do so may violate the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.” A settlement was also reached in that case.

These two cases are a reminder to follow proper employment practices and follow all required forms including the Form I-9 and E-Verify for such options the applicant chooses. This applies to hiring, firing, recruitment or during the employment eligibility verification process.

Failure to do so may result in a stiff penalty and who needs that?

Settlement Agreement between Synagogue and Justice Department

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