Justice Department Secures Agreement with New York City Health Care System to Resolve Allegations of Employment Discrimination

The Justice Department announced today that it has secured a settlement agreement with New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHH), which provides health care services to more than one million New Yorkers.

The agreement resolves the department’s determination that NYCHH violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it rejected a worker’s valid work authorization document based on the worker’s national origin.

“Employers cannot reject valid documents showing someone’s permission to work based on the country the person was born in,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Federal civil rights law protects workers from discrimination that can occur when employers are checking their permission to work.

The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable employers that treat workers differently because of where they were born or their national origin.

The department’s investigation determined that NYCHH unlawfully rejected a worker’s valid employment authorization document (EAD), which was automatically extended through a notice in the Federal Register applicable to those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The department determined that NYCHH rejected the valid document and delayed the onboarding of the worker based on its incorrect assumption that the worker’s country of birth listed on her EAD had to be the same as the country designated for TPS.

TPS is a temporary immigration benefit that allows qualified individuals from designated countries to stay in the United States for a limited time period due to conditions in the designated country, such as on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Workers with TPS, like all workers, have the right to provide their choice of valid documentation to demonstrate their permission to work.

Federal Register notices that automatically extend a TPS worker’s permission to work explain that the worker does not have to show additional documentation or prove their citizenship status, and that the country of birth listed on the worker’s documentation does not have to match the TPS-designated country.

Under the terms of the agreement, NYCHH will pay back pay to the affected worker to compensate for lost wages that the department determined the worker was eligible for due to the discrimination.

It will also pay a civil penalty to the United States, train its staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, review and revise its employment policies and training materials and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

The statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee, unfair documentary practices and retaliation and intimidation.

Find more information on how employers can avoid discrimination when verifying someone’s permission to work on IER’s website.

Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video.

Individuals with TPS who have questions about their rights can find more information on IER’s website.

Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify), or subjected to retaliation, may file a charge.

The public can also call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email IER@usdoj.

gov; sign up for a live webinar or watch an on-demand presentation or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Subscribe for email updates from IER.