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VIRGINIA AND ARIZONA FIRMS PAY $23,000 TO SETTLE EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES, ACCORDING TO DOJ

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Job discrimination against non- U.S. citizens will cost Virginia ship companies and a luxury resort in Arizona more than $23,000 in fines and back pay, under the terms of a settlement announced by the Department of Justice today.
 The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) said MP Industries Inc. fired nine Vietnamese workers who were either permanent resident aliens or refugees after Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation (Norshipco), which repairs commercial and Department of Navy vessels, refused to allow the workers access to its shipyard to paint a commercial ship. Norshipco claimed the men constituted a security risk because they were citizens of a communist country.
 OSC said the actions by MP and Norshipco violated the antidiscrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) which forbids employers from refusing to hire or fire a person because of his citizenship status or national origin unless it is required by law, regulation or government contract. Navy Department security regulations only require that companies obtain department approval prior to hiring non-citizens. They do not bar employment of non-citizens who are legally resettled, the agency said.
 OSC said Stouffers suspended Blanca DeLeon, a legal permanent resident, for two weeks when her "green card" expired because it mistakenly believed she was no longer authorized to work.
 Stouffers' suspension of DeLeon violated IRCA's antidiscrimination provisions because permanent resident aliens are permanently authorized to work in the United States. In attempting to verify DeLeon's employment eligibility status, Stouffers incorrectly insisted on seeing an INS-issued work authorization extension.
 Special Counsel William Ho-Gonzalez said: "When dealing with the prospect of hiring non-citizens, employers should be balanced. The key is to carefully read any relevant government regulations and make sure that all new employees complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (the 'I-9')."
 "Employers must remember that the employee has the right to choose which documents he or she will present for verification purposes. Also, when reverifying their work authorization, they do not have to show the same document or type of document used at the time of hire. Requiring an INS-issued document is a violation of the law," he added.
 In settling the cases, Norshipco will pay the workers $22,500 in back pay and civil penalties, and Stouffers will pay DeLeon $432 in back pay and a $1,000 civil penalty. In addition, all three companies will revise their employment practices and educate their employees about IRCA.
 OSC attorney Daniel W. Sutherland handled the MP and Norshipco cases, and OSC attorney Kirk Flagg handled the Stouffers case.
 For additional information about IRCA's anti-discrimination provision write:
 -- Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related
 Unfair Employment Practices
 P.O. Box 27728
 Washington, D.C. 20038-7728
 -0- 12/2/93
 /CONTACT: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-2007, or TDD, 202-514-1888/


CO: U.S. Department of Justice; MP Industries Inc.; Norfolk
 Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation ST: District of Columbia, Virginia, Arizona IN: MAR SU: EXE


DC-DT -- DC029 -- 9990 12/02/93 16:58 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 2, 1993
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