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Justice Department Settles with Florida-Based Promotional Products Distributor and Retailer

Justice Department Settles with Florida-Based Promotional Products Distributor and Retailer to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims

(STL.News) – The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with Bel USA LLC (Bel USA), an online distributor and retailer of customized promotional products located in Miami-Dade County, Florida.  The settlement resolves claims that Bel USA discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens by requiring them to provide specific and unnecessary immigration documents when verifying their work authorization, because of their citizenship or immigration status.

“Employers must ensure that their employees are properly trained regarding the employment eligibility verification process so that they do not violate federal law by requiring additional, unnecessary work authorization documents based on a worker’s citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.  “We look forward to working with Bel USA to ensure its future compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act’s non-discrimination requirements governing hiring, firing, onboarding, and using E-Verify.”

Based on its investigation, the department concluded that Bel USA routinely requested unnecessary and specific documents — such as Permanent Resident Cards and Employment Authorization Documents — from work-authorized non-U.S. citizens with the right to work in the U.S. to establish their employment authorization.  Federal law allows all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, to choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States.  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.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Bel USA will pay a civil penalty of $100,000, train its employees about the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to reporting and monitoring requirements.

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.

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