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Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) Settles Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination Claim Against Major Airline

For a second time in a week, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) announced it had reached a settlement with a company for immigration discrimination involving I-9 document abuse.  The second of its settlements stemmed from wrongdoing by a major airline. OSC’s investigation was initiated based on a telephone call to the agency’s hotline. Following an investigation, OSC found that the airline requested lawful permanent resident employees complete additional Forms I-9 and provide additional proof of employment eligibility after hire, but did not require U.S. citizen employees to do the same.

This is unlawful because the INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, the airline must pay a $215,000 penalty to the United States, create a $55,000 back pay fund to compensate individuals who may have lost wages due to the company’s practices, and undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The company will also be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility reverification practices by OSC for a period of two years.

This is yet another example of the risks an employer faces if it is not fully compliant with the I-9 employment eligibility verification process. Employers must remember that compliance consists not only of timely completing the I-9 process and verifying the identity and work authorization of a new hire, but also requires completion of the I-9 process in a manner that does not discriminate against non-U.S. citizens.  Employers should not only make sure that I-9 forms are error free, but also that the manner in which the forms are being completed is compliant with anti-discrimination provisions.

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 274



About this Author

Scott Decker, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Atlanta, Immigration and Technology Law Attorney
Of Counsel

Scott T. Decker focuses his practice on immigration-related employment law, counseling national and international employers on compliance, immigration policy and strategy. He regularly conducts audits to assess I-9 compliance and represents employers before the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association


  • Legal Intern,...