DOJ, UPS Reach Settlement Over Employment Discrimination Claims

Federal prosecutors found that the parcel giant violated the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced Thursday that it has secured a settlement agreement with United Parcel Service Inc.

The settlement resolves the department’s determination that UPS violated the Immigration and Nationality Act when the company discriminated against a lawful permanent resident based on his immigration status and then retaliated against him. The department also determined that UPS routinely rejected valid documentation that certain non-U.S. citizens presented to obtain an airport badge, which they needed to perform certain job duties at an UPS airport facility.

“Employers cannot create unlawful barriers based on workers’ immigration status at any point during the hiring process,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will vigorously enforce the law to ensure employers conduct all parts of the hiring process fairly and that workers are not retaliated against for exercising their rights.”  

Under the settlement, UPS will pay nearly $100,000 in back pay, front pay and associated benefits to the affected worker. It will also pay a civil penalty to the United States, train its staff on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, revise its policies and procedures and be subject to monitoring by the department.

The department’s investigation arose from a complaint alleging that UPS discriminated and retaliated against a lawful permanent resident in its airport badging process at its Logan Airport facility in Boston. The department concluded that UPS discriminated against the lawful permanent resident when UPS rejected the documentation that the worker provided to receive an airport badge, even though the worker provided valid and acceptable documentation according to airport authority rules. According to the department, because UPS rejected the worker’s documentation, it refused to submit a badge application to the relevant airport authority on his behalf, which made it impossible for him to complete certain job duties. The department determined that UPS later retaliated against the worker by firing him after he complained to UPS about the discrimination.

The department also found that the UPS facility had a policy or practice of rejecting valid documentation that some non-U.S. citizens show to obtain an airport badge, such as Machine Readable Immigrant Visas with an I-551 stamp.

The investigation concluded that the airport authority was not involved in the alleged discrimination and its badging policies were the same regardless of a person’s citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

Under the INA, employers generally cannot discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status or national origin at any stage of the hiring process. Employers also cannot retaliate against a person for asserting their rights under the law.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation. 

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