Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Oregon School District

The Department of Justice announced today that it reached a settlement agreement with Marion County School District 103, aka Woodburn School District, a public school district that serves suburban and rural communities in Marion County, Oregon. The settlement resolves a complaint that the Woodburn School District violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it refused to hire a work-authorized non-U.S. citizen as a teacher.

“The Department of Justice is committed to removing unlawful discriminatory barriers that deprive workers of opportunities because of their citizenship status or national origin,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the Woodburn School District for working with the Division to swiftly resolve this matter and prevent future violations.”

The Department’s investigation concluded that the Woodburn School District discriminated against an applicant for a teaching position by refusing to hire him because of his citizenship status even though the District’s hiring committee considered him to be the most qualified applicant. The Department also concluded that the Woodburn School District pre-screened the applicant when it asked for specific documentation to verify the applicant’s citizenship status and work authorization, but did not make similar requests of U.S. citizens. The INA generally prohibits employers from refusing to hire certain work-authorized non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship status. It also prohibits employers from pre-screening applicants by requesting specific documentation to prove work authorization based on employees’ citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, the Woodburn School District will pay the rejected applicant $5,774.81; pay the maximum civil penalties applicable ($5,543) to the United States; and be subject to departmental monitoring, training, and reporting requirements for a three-year period.

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practicesretaliation 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 or Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to retaliation; 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 for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

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Author: October 15, 2019

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