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Justice Department Settles Claim Against Florida Strawberry Farm for Discriminating Against U.S. Workers (June 2019)

Friday, June 14th, 2019

This is the 7th Settlement under the Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Worker’s Initiative

The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Sam Williamson Farms Inc. (SWF), a strawberry farm in Dover, Florida. The settlement resolves the Department’s investigation into whether SWF violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by preferring to hire H-2A visa holders to harvest its strawberry crop instead of U.S. workers. This is the seventh settlement under the Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa workers.
The Department of Justice’s independent investigation concluded that at the end of the 2016-2017 strawberry picking season, SWF informed its existing U.S. workers that it would rely instead on H-2A workers from a farm labor contractor to harvest its strawberries for the next season, and retained a farm labor contractor for the express purpose of obtaining workers with H-2A visas. Ultimately, the strawberry picking positions were filled by more than 300 H-2A workers and no U.S. workers. Refusing to recruit or hire available and qualified U.S. workers because of their citizenship status violates the INA.

“While H-2A workers can provide employers with necessary labor when there are insufficient numbers of interested U.S. workers, employers cannot deter or overlook qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status. This agreement reflects the Civil Rights Division’s continued commitment to protecting U.S. workers from discrimination,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.

Under the settlement, SWF will pay $60,000 in civil penalties to the United States, pay up to $85,000 in back pay to eligible U.S. workers, and conduct enhanced U.S. worker recruitment and advertising for future positions. The settlement also requires SWF to train employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

Under the Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, the Civil Rights Division has opened dozens of investigations, filed one lawsuit, and reached settlement agreements with seven employers. Since the Initiative’s inception, employers have agreed to pay or have distributed a combined total of more than $1.1 million in back pay to affected U.S. workers and civil penalties to the United States. The Division has also increased its collaboration with other federal agencies to combat discrimination and abuse by employers using temporary visa workers.

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

More information on how employers can avoid citizenship status discrimination is available here. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, 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); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; or discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

OFCCP: Focused Review Resources For Contractors (June 2019)

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

OFCCP would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the resources and tools available to contractors preparing for focused reviews under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the disability law that OFCCP enforces.

OFCCP’s Section 503 Focused Review webpage is a centralized location for information, resources, and helpful tools for contractors seeking to learn more about the review process. Through the webpage, contractors can also find information on the Focused Review directive, a list of Section 503 best practices, and insight into relevant regulations.

We also encourage contractors to utilize the resources made available by our partner agency, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Contractors should work with ODEP and use their resources, including the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion, to ensure their workplaces are inclusive for people with disabilities.

Contractors can also review the workplace accommodation toolkit provided by ODEP’s Job Accommodation Network for helpful tools related to reasonable accommodation.

OFCCP is committed to working with contractors to ensure they have the resources necessary to foster an inclusive and accessible workplace for people with disabilities. You can visit the OFCCP website to learn more about the work we do.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH YORK COUNTY, SC TO END HIRING PRACTICES THAT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES (June 2019)

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The Justice Department today announced that it reached a settlement agreement with York County, South Carolina under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement resolves the Department’s lawsuit alleging that the county discriminated against an applicant on the basis of his disability, dwarfism, when he sought to apply for a Purchasing Manager position. The complaint alleges that York County required applicants for the Purchasing Manager position to possess a driver’s license even though having a driver’s license is not essential to performing the job functions of the position. By requiring a driver’s license, the county unfairly screened out the applicant, who because of his disability does not possess a driver’s license, but who was otherwise qualified for the position. To read the press release regarding this settlement, click here. For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at ada.gov.

Justice Department Reaches Accessible Polling Place Agreement in Indian Country (June 2019)

Friday, June 7th, 2019

The Justice Department recently reached a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with McKinley County, New Mexico, home to Zuni Pueblo and parts of the Navajo Nation, to make the County’s polling places accessible to individuals with mobility and vision impairments, including over two dozen polling places located on Indian reservations.

For more information about the ADA and the agreement please access the ADA Web page at ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

Title VI Consulting Offers On-Demand Webcasts for EO Officers and Title VI Coordinators | Compliance with Federal Civil Rights Laws and Conducting Discrimination Complaint Investigations (2019)

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

OUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIES

As part of our Professional Development Series, we offer certificate-based webcast courses designed to help policymakers and professionals in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance, and complaint investigations gain a better understanding of the requirements of applicable federal civil rights laws. Our course selections are as follows:

How to Comply with Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview

Conducting Discrimination Complaint Investigations under WIOA Section 188: Proper Process and Technique

How to Comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: An Overview

Comments for our webcasts include “I thoroughly enjoyed them,” “extremely informative,” “outstanding,” “highly relevant,” and “very impressive.”

OUR ON-DEMAND WEBCASTS ARE:

    Convenient.

Watch the webcast of your choice at a time and place convenient to you. Get yourself, your staff, and your service providers, partners, and contractors up-to-speed quickly.

    Cost-effective.

At a cost of only $29.00 per webcast, you’ll find no more cost-effective solution to your training needs. There are no travel costs, and no lost time from work. These webcasts are the best value for your dollar!

    Content-rich.

Each webcast is packed with useful information, guidance, and helpful tips. Participants state that our webcasts are “excellent,” “very informative,” and “highly-organized.” Participants will receive a copy of the PowerPoint presentation used for the webcast.

    Certificate-based.

Within three to five business days, webinar participants receive, by email, a certificate of attendance at the training for their records.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Title: How to Comply with Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview

Date: AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND NOW! State Equal Opportunity officers, and leadership of workforce investment boards have required this training of staff, partners, service providers, and contractors, stating it is “very relevant” and delivers “extremely useful guidance.”

Duration: Approximately 52 minutes

Free Handouts Available for Download During the Webcast Are: The detailed PowerPoint presentation used during the webcast, a guidance paper on Equal Opportunity Officers and conflict of interest, sample “I speak” cards, and the PowerPoint presentation used during a Labor Department-hosted presentation on gender identity.

Description: This webcast provides a wealth of information, guidance, and tips to help you ensure compliance with the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) and related federal civil rights laws that apply to the administration, oversight, and delivery process for financially assisted programs and activities. In this webcast, we’ll cover a broad range of compliance issues, including taglines, assurances, Equal Opportunity officers (their selection and duties, and the recipients’ obligations in support of EO officers), serving persons with disabilities, serving LEP populations, differences between program complaints and discrimination complaints, harassment and hostile environment, and data collection, including requirements for the discrimination complaint log and storage of medical information.

Developed for: Whether you are a newly-appointed EO professional, or you are in need refresher training, this webcast is designed for state and local government EO officers, agency heads, legal advisors, contracting and procurement personnel, and other officials involved with issues of compliance with WIOA Section 188. Similarly, management and equal opportunity professionals for private companies and other organizations that contract with state and local governments to operate WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities will find this webcast extremely useful and informative.

Title: Conducting Discrimination Complaint Investigations under WIOA Section 188: Proper Process and Technique

Date: AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND NOW!

Duration: Approximately 39 minutes

Free Handouts Available for Download During the Webcast Are: The detailed PowerPoint presentation used during the webcast, a credibility determinations job aid, and a full set of WIOA Section 188 discrimination complaint templates, including a sample discrimination complaint form and consent form, jurisdiction checklist, complaint investigation plans, and sample notices and letters.

Description: This webcast covers the discrimination complaint investigation process from start to finish, including determining jurisdiction, developing a complaint investigation plan, framing the issue of an investigation, developing interrogatories, preparing a letter of acceptance, gathering and analyzing information, interviewing the parties and witnesses, and writing the notice of final action. Each participant of this webcast will receive a set of templates that they may customize and use for their investigations, including a jurisdiction checklist, sample complaint investigation plans, sample notices rejecting a complaint, a sample letter of acceptance, and a sample notice of final action.

Participants also are encouraged to purchase our book titled, Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act and other Title VI-Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination. This 5-star rated guide contains numerous examples, sample questions for the parties, and detailed explanations of how to efficiently and effectively conduct and resolve or close a discrimination complaint investigation.

The electronic book is available for $9.99 per copy through iPad, Nook, Kindle, or the publisher at www.outskirtspress.com/civilrights.

Paperback cost: $19.99 per copy. To order the paperback version:

Go to www.outskirtspress.com/civilrights; or

Email the author at seena@titleviconsulting.com, and you will receive an invoice by PayPal ($2.50 per book is added for shipping).

Developed for: WIOA Equal Opportunity (EO) officers, Title VI coordinators, Title VI compliance officers, Title VI liaisons, and any other equal opportunity professionals responsible for conducting investigations of, and resolving, discrimination complaints involving federally-assisted programs and activities. While this webcast uses the nondiscrimination provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 as the source of examples, the material in this webcast is equally applicable when conducting discrimination complaint investigations in any federally-assisted program or activity.

Through this webcast, equal opportunity professionals are provided the process and tools they need to get their jobs done efficiently and competently.

Title: How to Comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: An Overview

Date: AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND NOW!

Duration: Approximately 42 minutes

Free Handouts Available for Download During the Webcast Are: The detailed PowerPoint presentation used during the webcast and sample “I speak” cards.

Description: This popular webcast provides an informative overview of how to comply with the nondiscrimination mandates of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI applies to the administration, oversight, and delivery process of all state and local programs and activities that are federally-assisted. In this webcast, we’ll focus on the scope and meaning of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and we will touch on a variety of compliance-related issues, including environmental justice, serving limited English proficient populations, contracting and procurement, discrimination complaints, harassment and hostile environment, training, monitoring, and data collection. Participants will understand the meaning of race, color, and national origin-based discrimination through Ms. Foster’s use of a variety of easy-to-understand examples. And, participants will learn about surprising federal enforcement policies to include certain types of religious-based discrimination as prohibited under Title VI.

Developed for: Whether you are new to the field, or need refresher training, this webcast is designed for state and local government officials from any size agency or department, such as equal opportunity officers, Title VI liaisons, Title VI compliance officers, Title VI coordinators, agency heads, legal counsel, and contracting and procurement personnel. Also, management and equal opportunity professionals for private companies and other organizations that contract with state and local governments to operate federally-assisted programs and activities will find this webcast extremely useful. Whether you receive funding directly from a federal agency, or indirectly through a state or local agency, the federal civil rights requirements discussed in the webcast apply to you.

Once you have completed this webcast and understand the requirements of the federal civil rights laws that apply to your programs, and if you are responsible for conducting discrimination complaint investigations in these programs, we recommend that you take our course titled, “Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act: Proper Process and Technique.” The sound investigative processes and techniques discussed in this webcast are easily applied to discrimination complaint investigations conducted in any federally-assisted program or activity.

OFCCP: Technical Updates to Executive Order 13496 NLRA Rights Poster (2019)

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

This email provides notification that the U.S. Department of Labor has made technical changes to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) rights poster that federal contractors and subcontractors are required to display under Executive Order 13496, “Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Law.”

The Department updated the poster to reflect a new telephone number for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency responsible for enforcing the NLRA, as well as contact information for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. No other changes or updates were made at this time.

Federal contractors and subcontractors can obtain the updated poster at no cost by downloading it from the Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) website at https://www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/EO13496.htm.

If you have any questions, or if you would like a hard copy of the notice, you can contact OLMS at olms-public@dol.gov or 202-693-0123.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Central California Agricultural Company (2019)

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

The Department of Justice today announced that it reached a settlement agreement with WesPak Inc., an agricultural company located in Dinuba, California. The settlement resolves the Department of Justice’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against workers based on their citizenship status in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when verifying their authorization to work.

The investigation concluded that WesPak discriminated against lawful permanent resident workers by unnecessarily requiring them to re-prove their work authorization when their original documents expired, even though the workers’ original documents — such as Permanent Resident Cards — demonstrated that they were permanently authorized to work in the United States. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from making unnecessary requests for documentation to prove work authorization based on a worker’s citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, WesPak will pay a civil penalty to the United States, train its human resources personnel on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to compliance monitoring by the Department of Justice.

“Employers must carefully examine their procedures for reverifying continuing work authorization to ensure that they protect workers against discrimination based on citizenship status, and we are pleased with WesPak’s agreement to do so,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits discrimination against individuals who are authorized to work based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.

Employers can find information on how to avoid unlawful discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin here. Workers can find information about their rights under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA here. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the INA, 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); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

Fair Housing News (2019)

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is awarding an additional $1.2 million under its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to support the efforts of 11 organizations to educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. (See chart below.)

Last month, HUD awarded $15 million to help dozens of similar organizations across the country to conduct a range of fair housing enforcement, capacity building and education and outreach activities.

“HUD’s efforts to fight housing discrimination are force multiplied by local fair housing organizations across the country,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “These grants allow our partners to carry out the important work of rooting out unfair policies and practices and enforcing our nation’s fair housing laws.”

Today’s grants, which are being provided under the Education and Outreach Initiatives component of FHIP, also enable the organizations to educate the public and housing providers about local fair laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

Justice Department: Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) Webinar Schedule (May and June 2019)

Monday, May 20th, 2019

For links to register for the following webinars, go to https://www.justice.gov/crt/webinars.

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is offering a number of free, informative webinars for the public in May and June. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. Please review IER’s webinar schedule to choose the right presentation for you.

IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law prohibits citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation. For more information visit www.justice.gov/ier.

IER Webinars
IER Training for Employers / Human Resources Representatives
Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET

IER Training for Worker Advocates
Tuesday, June 11 2019 at 1:30 pm ET

IER Training for Refugee and Asylee Service Providers
Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET

Seminario de la IER para trabajadores y sus defensores
Martes, 18 de junio, 2019, at 2:00 pm ET

IER Training for Employers / Human Resources Representatives
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 10:30 am ET

Joint Webinars

Joint IER/USCIS Employee Rights Webinar
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET

Joint IER/USCIS Employee Rights Webinar
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET

Register Here
IER/ICE/USCIS Tri-Agency Employer Webinar

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET

Joint IER/USCIS Employee Rights Webinar
Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm ET

Upcoming EEO Training: Drafting Final Agency Actions, Investigator Training, EEO Counselor Training (2019)

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

EEO Training for Federal Agencies Drafting Final Agency Actions
June 19-22, 2019

The purpose of the next three days of training is to introduce you to the basic tools and techniques you need to draft effective EEO Final Actions in the federal sector. At the completion of this course, you will be able to: 1. Understand the basic elements and formats of various kinds of EEO Final Actions and when to use them; 2. Understand the importance of providing a complete procedural history leading to the Final Action; 3. Recognize a complete complaint/case file upon which a finding can be made; 4. Combine the legal analysis with the pertinent facts leading to the Final Action; 5. Provide a concise conclusion setting forth the findings.

Location of Training:
919 18th St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20006
Register On-Line & Get More Information at: www.eeotraining.eeoc.gov

Contact Us at:
EEOC Training Institute – Federal Sector Training E-mail: federaltrainingandoutreach@eeoc.gov

EEO Training for Federal Agencies New Investigator Training
June 24-28, 2019

Skilled EEOC personnel deliver this interactive course that fulfills the requisite 32-hour training requirement for new federal investigators. Participants are taught basics regarding EEO law and provided with the opportunity to develop essential investigative techniques in a small group setting. Trainers also use instructive exercises to assist participants in completing two actual investigations, which include allegations of harassment, disparate treatment and disability discrimination.

Course Topics Include: Basics of EEO law and theories of discrimination; the 1614 regulations and federal sector EEO process; Models of proof in employment discrimination cases; elements of a disability discrimination case; tools and techniques for planning and conducting interviews; and the Investigative Report and Investigative Summary

Class: Four Days, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Half Day, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 Noon

Location of Training:
919 18th St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20006

Register On-Line & Get More Information at: www.eeotraining.eeoc.gov

Contact Us at:
EEOC Training Institute – Federal Sector Training E-mail: federaltrainingandoutreach@eeoc.gov

EEO Training New Counselor Training
July 8-12, 2019

Skilled EEOC personnel deliver this interactive course that fulfills the requisite 32-hour training requirement for new federal counselors. Participants are taught basics regarding EEO law and provided the opportunity to develop essential settlement techniques in a small group setting. Trainers also use instructive exercises to assist participants in completing counseling sessions, which include allegations of harassment and disparate treatment.

Course Topics Include: Roles and responsibilities of an EEO Counselor, the 1614 regulations and federal sector EEO process Effective communication skills for EEO Counselors Interviewing and Counseling Techniques, recognizing claims of harassment, drafting the EEO Counselor’s Reports

Class: Four Days, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Half Day, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Noon

Please email your requests for federal sector training and outreach to directly to the Training and Outreach Division at: federaltrainingandoutreach@eeoc.gov

For Federal Sector News and Training Updates Please Follow Us On Twitter and Like Us On Facebook: @EEOCFEDENEWS

Subscribe to Our YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUYqgTshvvYPcLzPvKUuZsA

Investigator Refresher
July 16, 2019

This course meets the annual 8-hour requirement for federal EEO investigators. Participants will receive instruction on recent developments in federal sector EEO and discuss how these changes affect investigation of complaints filed by federal employees. Participants will also practice their investigative skills.

Location of Training
919 18th St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006

Register On-Line & Get More Information at: www.eeotraining.eeoc.gov

Contact Us at: EEOC Training Institute – Federal Sector Training
E-mail: federaltrainingandoutreach@eeoc.gov