Houston Community College (HCC) currently enrolls more than 60,000 students and employs approximately 6,000 employees across 20 campuses, making it one of the largest community countries in the United States. As of January 31, 2013, HCC reached an agreement with the Justice Department (DOJ) based on allegations that the college was using a discriminatory hiring process requiring non-U.S. citizens to provide specific documents to establish their work authorization. The investigation began after an individual filed charges alleging that HCC discriminated against her based on national origin and citizenship status. The case that followed was led by Trial Attorney Liza Zamd, who reached a settlement prior to the Justice Department filing an official complaint with Houston Community College.
The Justice Department’s investigation uncovered a pattern of discriminatory practices in Houston Community College’s hiring process over the past two years, which required non-U.S. citizens to provide additional documentation during the application process, while U.S. citizen applicants weren't required to provide any additional documents. Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, spoke about discriminatory hiring processes in the Justice Department’s official statement saying, “Employers cannot create higher hurdles for non-U.S. citizens in the employment process, including the employment eligibility verification process, than those required of U.S. citizens or those required by law.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Houston Community College will comply with the following requirements set forth by the Justice Department:
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- $83,600 in civil penalties due to their discriminatory hiring practices.
- A $20,000 back pay fund for compensation of potential victims who lost wages as a result of those practices.
- Training on the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- A two year monitoring period enforced by the Justice Department overseeing their employment eligibility verification practices.
Labels: department of justice, Immigration and Nationality Act, Workforce Compliance, worksite enforcement