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.