Marine Labor Firms Fined $855K for Citizenship-Based Discrimination

​Two companies that provide shipyard labor and marine maintenance were ordered to pay the Department of Justice more than $855,000 in civil penalties for violating the Immigration and Nationality Act. Louisiana-based Technical Marine Maintenance Texas LLC and Gulf Coast Workforce LLC, of Texas, were found in violation against the workers in June, and sanctioned by the court for not complying with court procedures and lawyers during the trial.

“Today’s decision reminds employers that they must take seriously their obligations to avoid citizenship status-based discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.  

ICYMI: Mrs. Fields Forks Over Dough to Settle Immigration Discrimination Lawsuit with DOJ

From January 2014 to December 2017, the companies asked U.S. citizen applicants to provide identification of citizenship, including Social Security cards. The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits citizenship and national origin discrimination during the recruitment, hiring and firing process.

DOJ settles with Afni, Inc. 

The Justice Department also announced today that it reached a settlement with Illinois-based customer service provider Afni, Inc., for wrongly rejecting documentation establishing the work authority from an injured female employee at the company’s location in Tucson, Ariz. 

“Employers should familiarize themselves with the INA’s anti-discrimination requirements to avoid unnecessary and unlawful document requests that create obstacles for workers based on their citizenship status or national origin,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend Afni for working to ensure that, in the future, employees do not face discriminatory barriers when going through the employment eligibility verification process.”

The company agreed to pay a civil penalty to the Treasury Department and back pay to the worker. Staff will also undergo training and the company will be monitored by the DOJ.    

Related: Flurry of Lawsuits Filed Over Citizenship Question on Census

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Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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