Thursday, April 22, 2010
Immigration and the rights of noncitizens continue to be a much-discussed issue on the campaign trail, in the media and in courtrooms. Taking a stand to protect immigrants from discrimination, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against John Jay College on Friday. In the first lawsuit of its kind filed by the department in many years, John Jay College of Criminal Justice is accused of creating a pattern and criteria of job discrimination against noncitizens who are authorized to work in the United States.
Allegedly, the college is said to have demanded further documentation, like a driver’s license and social security card, from prospective workers who already possessed the proper work eligibility requirements necessary under federal law. The school popped up on the department’s radar when a woman complained in 2008 that she was fired from her part-time job as a computer lab assistant at the college. According to her complaint, the woman was fired from John Jay for not producing a green card as required by John Jay even though she had previously given them copies of her driver’s license and social security card. An employee of John Jay since 2004, the woman has asked to remain anonymous in fear of further damage to her professional career.
This prompted an investigation of the John Jay College, which is a subsidiary school of the City University of New York.
The lawsuit is seeking penalties of $1,100 for the woman and other individuals and undetermined measures to correct the current practice of discrimination. The college, the Justice Department claims, violated the provisions of the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits employers from imposing different standards on noncitizens than on citizens.
John Jay College has said in a statement that it fully intends on settling the lawsuit while immediately implementing new training programs to prevent employee discrimination in the future.