STATE — The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against an information technology staffing company in Jersey City regarding allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it terminated an employee in retaliation for expressing opposition to the firm’s alleged preference for foreign nationals with temporary work visas.
The complaint alleges that Whiz International LLC directed an employee that served as a receptionist and a recruiter, to prefer certain noncitizens in its recruitment efforts and then terminated the employee when she expressed discomfort with excluding U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from consideration.
The anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who oppose a practice that is illegal under the statute or who attempt to assert rights under the statute.
“Employers cannot punish employees who try to do the right thing and take reasonable measures to shed light on a practice they believe may be discriminatory,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Employers must ensure that their practices conform to the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and retaliation will not be tolerated.”
The complaint seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the respondent, monetary damages to the employee, as well as civil penalties.
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA, which protect U.S. citizens and certain work-authorized individuals from citizenship status discrimination. The INA also protects work-authorized individuals from national origin discrimination, over-documentation in the employment eligibility verification process and retaliation.
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