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Employers cannot ask to see green cards

New York new hires should be aware that their employers are not legally allowed to ask for work authorization documents when verifying their employment status. This is due to the Immigration and Nationality Act which allows all workers to choose from an approved list the valid documentation that they want to provide to their employer.

A pizza franchise based in Miami found this out when the U.S. Department of Justice penalized the company for asking for specific verification documents. During an investigation, the department found that the pizzeria chains requested that permanent residents produce their permanent resident card, known as green cards, to prove that they could legally work. The case was resolved in March. Ultimately, the business agreed to pay $140,000 and will be subject to reporting and monitoring requirements.

The department warned that it was the employer's responsibility to show the list of acceptable documents to all potential hires. If the employer requested certain documents from some employees but not others, the business is potentially opening itself up to national origin discrimination claims. This can also be considered as document abuse under the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the DOJ. Those who are lawful permanent residents are legally allowed to provide a permanent resident card or a driver's license and Social Security card.

National origin discrimination can make it difficult for those who are legally allowed to work to obtain jobs. In some cases, it also may prevent them from being able to advance in their career. If an employee was discriminated against due to national origin, an employment law attorney might assist with filing a lawsuit against the employer. In some cases, the attorney may seek compensation for income that the employee did not earn due to the workplace discrimination, especially if the client was passed over for a promotion or otherwise retaliated against after reporting incidents of discrimination.

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