For Employers with as Few as Four Employees, Mistakes in “Onboarding” Can Lead to U.S. Department of Justice Investigations

The EEOC is not the only federal agency charged with investigating and prosecuting employment discrimination in private-sector workplaces. The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) is charged with investigating and prosecuting citizenship discrimination and document abuse for employers with four or more employees, as well as national origin discrimination for employers that have between 4-14 employees, thereby encompassing smaller businesses that fall below the 15 employee threshold required for Title VII coverage. The authority for the OSC investigations is provided for in the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-retaliation provision. Businesses with at least four employees should ensure that the person completing I-9 paperwork on behalf of the company is properly trained, or risk an investigation by the OSC and the potential imposition of civil and criminal penalties.

For a summary of the OSC’s authority as compared to the EEOC see:
https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2013/05/08/EEOC_v_OSC_Flyer2.pdf

A summary of the acts prohibited by the INA can be found at:  https://www.justice.gov/crt/types-discrimination

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
941-552-2558