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Man alleges racial discrimination due to a rejected I-9 document

The I-9 form has very strict guidelines outlining which forms of identification may or may not be used. People who are hired or need their credentials re-verified should all be subjected to the same rules and not have their paperwork rejected unless their documents are not those allowed according to the I-9's instructions. A man who worked for a Florida hotel that is owned by Hilton Worldwide is claiming that, due to racial discrimination, the documents he presented for re-verification were unnecessarily rejected.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff offered his Social Security card as one of the acceptable forms of identification for completing his I-9. He claims that the card was rejected, and he was unable to continue working for the hotel. Workers who need to fill out the I-9 form choose which of the approved documents they wish to present, and an employer cannot reject them if they are authentic.

Based on the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers cannot unnecessarily reject documents from a foreign worker because of his or her national original, citizenship or immigration status. The man's claim came to the Justice Department's attention through the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Before a settlement was reached for the claim, the foreign-born man had already been reinstated.

As part of the settlement, Hilton was required to pay a $550 civil penalty to the United States and give the plaintiff $12,600 for his lost wages. Hilton will also be monitored by the Justice Department for compliance for two years and is required to change its employment policies. Workers in Florida who believe that they are the victims of racial discrimination or other illegal employment practices can elect to pursue complaints against their employers. The employees may be awarded monetary settlements based upon evidence of discrimination and be returned to their former positions, if applicable.

Source:, "Justice Dept. settles with Hilton Worldwide over discrimination of a foreign-born worker", March 9,2015

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