UCSD Medical Center pays penalty over immigrant discrimination

Following a lawsuit by the Justice Department, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center will pay a civil penalty of $115,000, resolving last month's complaint that alleged UCSD Medical Center discriminated against immigrant employees and job applicants, the Associated Press reports.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) accused UCSD Medical Center from January 2004 through June 2011 of requiring excessive documentation from non-citizens who are authorized to work in the United States, a practice that it did not require of American citizens. The DoJ argued the medical center violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees.

"Federal law protects people who are authorized to work in the United States from facing barriers and discrimination when they are seeking employment," Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez said in press release this week. "I commend medical center officials on their cooperation in working with us to reach this resolution."

UCSD Medical Center agreed to adopt new procedures to verify immigration status of its workers regardless of citizenship status. It has received Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement training on the proper use of work authorization documents.  

Last year, employers saw an unprecedented number of DoJ enforcements and actions for discriminatory practices, according to corporate immigration attorney John Fay in an Immigration Daily article. The $115,000 is one of the highest civil penalties to date, the article notes.

For more information:
- read the Associated Press article
- here's the DoJ press release
- see the Immigration Daily article

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