The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on August 25, 2021, that it reached a settlement related to immigration discrimination claims with Ascension Health Alliance, a Missouri-based health care organization with more than 2,600 sites—including 146 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities—in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
The settlement resolves DOJ’s claims that Ascension violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship status. Based on its investigation, DOJ determined that Ascension told its non-U.S. citizen employees to present new documents to prove their continued work authorization even when it was not required. The investigation found that Ascension improperly programmed customized software to send automated emails requesting proof of continued work authorization to all non-U.S. citizen employees, including U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees, close to the expiration date of the documents they provided when completing the Form I-9. These non-U.S. citizen employees often presented documents that did not require reverification of employment eligibility. In some instances after sending the emails, Ascension further required non-U.S. citizen employees to present new documents to continue working. In contrast, Ascension did not program the software to send emails to U.S. citizens and therefore did not notify U.S. citizens near the expiration of their documents.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Ascension will pay the United States a civil penalty of $84,832.00. Additionally, Ascension will train its employees on the requirements and be subject to monitoring for a three-year period.