On July 15, the Department of Justice announced that it reached a retaliation claim settlement with Around the Clock Dispatch Inc., a freight and delivery services company in Queens Village, New York.
An employee of Around the Clock had filed a charge with the Justice Department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) to ask for help addressing a concern about the company’s process for an immigration-related employment practice in verifying his work authorization.
DOJ’s Investigation on Around the Clock
The Department investigated the charge and determined that Around the Clock suspended the worker for three days without pay because he sought help from the IER.
“Workers should not face negative consequences for raising concerns about that may violate the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We encourage workers and employers to contact the immigrant and Employee Rights Section’s hotline for information on their rights and responsibilities, to help resolve disputes at the earliest opportunity possible. Protecting those who contact the hotline from retaliation is critical to ensuring its success.”
The Retaliation Claim Settlement
The settlement between Around the Clock and the Department led to Around the Clock paying $3,600 in civil penalties to the United States and $900 in back pay to the worker. The settlement also called for Around the Clock to train employees on the federal requirements of the anti-discrimination provision and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Immigration and Employee Rights Section
The IER is a part of the Civil Rights Division responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The INA prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, any unfair documentary practices, and retaliation and intimidation.
The IER runs a hotline program offering assistance and information to workers and employers to prevent discrimination, resolve potential retaliation, and intimidate individuals who violate the law the IER enforces. Workers or employers who file a complaint with the IER cooperate with the investigation, asserting their rights or others’ rights as protected under federal law.