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Florida Immigrant Discrimination Case Settled

A case involving potentially widespread employment discrimination has been settled in Florida. Last year, the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) began investigating into the potential rights violations of many individuals by the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which is the largest school system in the state of Florida and the fourth largest district in the U.S. The DOJ alleged that the school system engaged in unlawful discrimination against immigrants who applied for jobs. Specifically, human resources requested certain employment eligibility documents from immigrant applicants and did not request those same documents from United States citizens.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) prohibits any employer from engaging in discrimination based on a person’s immigration status or citizenship status. Such discrimination can taking place during employment or prior to employment in the recruitment and hiring stages. In order to comply with the law in the pre-employment stage, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises that no employer should ask applicants about their citizenship status before the applicant is offered a job. Miami-Dade Public Schools, however, asked immigrant applicants for employment eligibility documents prior to a job offer, which could easily lead to discrimination against immigrants in hiring.

Miami-Dade Public Schools did not admit wrongdoing and instead stated the application and hiring process was in place for streamlining and efficiency reasons. Though the attorney for the school board insisted the district never intended to discriminate against any immigrant applicants, the Civil Rights Division maintained that compliance still had to be promoted, and human resources staff properly trained to ensure that no applicants or employees are excluded for discriminatory reasons.

Miami-Dade Agrees To Settle The Case

The school district and the Justice Department recently came to a settlement agreement. The following are some of the reported terms of the settlement:

  • The school district does not admit any intentional wrongdoing;
  • The school district pays a civil penalty of $90,000;
  • The school district establishes a fund of $125,000 intended to compensate individuals who lost income due to the hiring discrimination, and the district will notify eligible recipients in the next three months.

Unlawful discrimination based on immigrant or citizenship status does not always occur during the hiring process. Instead, employees who are immigrants may be harassed for their status or may be intentionally overlooked for promotions, raises, or more preferable job assignments. Unfortunately, employment discrimination due to immigration regularly occurs in Florida and across the United States and anyone who believes they have been the victim of such discrimination may be entitled to compensation.

Contact an experienced Florida employment law attorney for help

At the employment law office of Robert S. Norell, P.A., we understand how much employment discrimination can affect you, both financially and emotionally. If your employer has engaged in any type of unlawful discrimination practices–whether intentional or not–you should discuss your rights with a qualified Florida employment lawyer as soon as possible. Please call our office for help today at 305-405-9243 today.

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