A recent settlement resulting from an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) against Ascension Health Alliance (Ascension), a Missouri-based health care system, highlights discrimination claims against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens. Specifically, the settlement resolves allegations that Ascension discriminated against these foreign national employees by implementing in-house software that caused them to request more or different documents than are required to verify employment authorization and complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The faulty software design caused them to violate Section 247A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Under the INA, an employer must attest under penalty of perjury that it has verified that each employee is authorized to work in the United States by collecting certain listed documents. Generally, all new employees hired after Nov. 6, 1986, are subject to verification, including U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are automatically eligible for employment in the U.S. Critical to the Ascension settlement, the INA also requires re-verification of employment authorization for certain employees before the expiration of the work authorization.