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Florida employer settles complaint for favoring immigrants

When we discuss discrimination in employment in this Broward County Employment Law Blog, we are typically discussing cases in which employers treat employees of protected classes unfairly in the workplace. In a recent case that has been settled in Florida, a company has agreed to pay $27,750 for reportedly violating anti-discrimination law in its recruiting efforts.

The U.S. Department of Justice had accused the health care staffing company of posting hundreds of online job postings that showed a clear preference for foreign-trained workers who are seeking permanent residence in the U.S. or visa sponsorship. Discriminating against people on the basis of their immigration status or citizenship is banned by the federal Immigration and Nationality Act unless it is required by a government contract, regulation or law.

In addition to paying the civil penalties, the company based in Casselberry, Florida, must also amend internal policies in order to comply with the INA and it will also be monitored for three years.

While many people know that it is illegal to discriminate against foreign workers, it is also illegal to favor foreign workers. The INA protects U.S. workers from illegal discrimination, and the Department of Justice has handled several cases that involve INA violations this year.

This case also reminds us that it is important for Florida residents to be aware that discrimination is not only illegal in the workplace, but also in hiring and recruitment. When discrimination does occur in any level of employment, it may be possible to hold the employer accountable for damages.

Source: HR.BLR.com, "Florida firm to pay $27,750 for discriminatory job postings," March 15, 2013

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, "Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Avant Healthcare Professionals LLC to Resolve Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices," Feb 8, 2013

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