Published On: Tue, May 9th, 2017

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Rhode Island-Based Staffing Agency

The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement today with Provisional Staffing Solutions (Provisional), a temporary staffing agency located in Cranston, Rhode Island.  The agreement resolves the department’s investigation into whether Provisional discriminated against non-U.S. citizens when checking their work authorization documents, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The department’s investigation concluded that Provisional routinely requested that non-U.S. citizens present specific identity documents to prove their work authorization, such as a Permanent Resident Card (PRC), while not requesting a specific identity document from U.S. citizens.  Lawful permanents residents and other work-authorized non-U.S. citizens often have the same identity and work authorization documents available to them as U.S. citizens, and may choose from among the acceptable documents to prove they are authorized to work.  The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on the employees’ citizenship or national origin.

Under the settlement, Provisional must pay a civil penalty of $16,290 to the United States, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, train their human resources personnel and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

“The Justice Department cautions employers not to erect discriminatory barriers to employment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division.  ”Companies large and small must ensure that their Form I-9 practices comply with federal law.  We appreciate Provisional’s cooperation with the Department to address this issue.”

The division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

Provisional Staffing Solutions Settlement Agreement