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Settlement Against Macy’s in Discrimination of Non-U.S. Citizens

6/29/2016
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On June 22, 2016, a settlement agreement between Macy’s and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was formalized pertaining to discrimination of non-U.S. citizens. The matter began back in October 2015, when at least five employees notified OSC of their complaints against Macy’s. The employees, all non-U.S. citizens, were required to produce documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a condition of employment during the employment eligibility verification process, despite the employees already having satisfied the federal Form I-9 requirements with alternate documentation. Additionally, during the investigation it was discovered that Macy’s did not require U.S. citizen employees to produce specific documents for verification.
 
During the Form I-9 completion process, an employer cannot require an employee to produce specific documentation, no matter their immigration or citizenship status. The employee is permitted to choose any document or combination of documents specified in the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” attached to the Form I-9. If an employee produces acceptable documents, the employer cannot request additional documents to verify employment eligibility, so long as the documents appear genuine on their face.
 
As Macy’s did not follow this protocol, OSC concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe that Macy’s committed citizenship status discrimination. As part of its agreement with OSC, Macy’s is now required, amongst other stipulations, to 1) pay back wages to at least one of the employees; 2) pay a civil penalty of $8,700 to the U.S. Treasury; 3) submit information on all Forms I-9 completed during the OSC-determined reporting period to OSC for review; 4) provide Form I-9 training to all Human Resources personnel at its offending location(s) and test them on their knowledge to assess whether further training is required; and 5) revise its internal policies related to discrimination and have them reviewed by OSC. Macy’s essentially remains under OSC scrutiny for the foreseeable future. The new requirements are above and beyond what is normally required for employers, which goes to show how certain form errors can result in major hurdles for an organization.
 
The Macy’s case is an example of how the actions of Human Resources personnel related to the Form I-9 verification process can affect the entire organization. If you do not want to find your organization under the close watch of the government, you need to ensure that all individuals responsible for Form I-9 completion have thorough knowledge and solid understanding of the process’ requirements and limitations.
 
GoffWilson offers personalized Form I-9 training depending on an organization’s needs. On our website, you can find a downloadable I-9 Retention Worksheet, Completion Timeline, Acceptable Document List, and more by clicking here. Or contact our office today for more I-9 information. We are here to help!
Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance, Immigration Law