Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Aug 15, 2012

Employer penalized for reverifying expired “green cards”

Immigration 

An employer who allegedly had a practice of reverifying expired permanent resident cards (also known as “green cards”), but not reverifying the documentation of U.S. citizens has settled charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

An employer who allegedly had a practice of reverifying expired permanent resident cards (also known as “green cards”), but not reverifying the documentation of U.S. citizens has settled charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ alleged that the employer’s practice violated the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). At issue in the case was the employer’s Form I-9 practice, in which it allegedly required an employee, who was a permanent resident, to bring in an updated green card when his expired. Even though his card was unexpired at the time of hire (and thus, valid for Form I-9 purposes), when he failed to bring in an updated card upon its expiration, he was terminated. The employee filed a claim with the DOJ, alleging discrimination under the INA. The DOJ and the employer reached a settlement in which the employer rehired the employee and gave him full back pay. It must also pay $3,190 in civil penalties, reform its Form I-9 practices and provide re-training to HR staff.

Tips: An unexpired permanent resident card (or green card) is a valid List A document for Form I-9 purposes, providing evidence of both identity and employment authorization. While it must be unexpired at the time of hire, it remains valid documentation even if it later expires and therefore should not be reverified when it expires. If you have questions about the I-9 rules or acceptable documents, contact your Vigilant staff representative, or check out our Legal Guide, “Form I-9: Basic Obligations of Employment Eligibility Verification” (2813).

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