Justice Department Settles with Transportation and Logistics Company to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims

The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with IAS Logistics DFW LLC, d/b/a Pinnacle Logistics (Pinnacle Logistics), a transportation and logistics company headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.  

The settlement resolves claims that Pinnacle Logistics discriminated against an asylee worker based on his citizenship status by rejecting the worker’s valid work authorization documents and terminating him when he could not satisfy the company’s request for specific and unnecessary immigration documents.

“Employers must not interfere with a worker’s lawful right to present acceptable work authorization documents to prove authorization to work in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We applaud Pinnacle Logistics’ decision to work with the Department of Justice and to change its practices to comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act’s non-discrimination protections.”

Based on its investigation, the department concluded that Pinnacle Logistics asked the asylee worker to present an additional, DHS-issued document because of his status as a non-U.S. citizen, even though he had already presented sufficient documentation establishing his work authorization. When the worker could not produce the document Pinnacle Logistics requested, despite being work-authorized, the company terminated him.

The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin. Instead, in the INA, Congress determined that all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, may choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States. The INA does, however, permit employers to reject non-genuine looking documents.  

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Pinnacle Logistics will pay a civil penalty to the United States and back pay to the affected worker, will train its employees about the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and proper E-Verify procedures, and will be subject to department reporting requirements over the term of the agreement.       

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

Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. 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. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.

The Civil Rights Division wants to hear about civil rights violations. Members of the public can report possible civil rights violations through the Civil Rights Division’s reporting portal.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; or discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

The Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, started in 2017 in the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), targets, investigates, and (where appropriate) brings enforcement actions against employers that intentionally discriminate against U.S. workers due to citizenship-status discrimination based on a preference for temporary visa workers. IER has reached numerous settlements under the Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, and employers have distributed or agreed to pay a combined total of more than $1.2 million in back pay to affected U.S. workers and civil penalties to the United States. These settlements involve employers that discriminated in their use of the H-1BH-2A, and H-2B visa programs. 

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Author: November 12, 2020

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