employment verification

Fair Hiring Practices in the Spotlight: The Securitas Settlement

In a recent and significant development within the field of immigration and employment law, Securitas Security Services USA Inc., a renowned nationwide security guard company, has come to a substantial $175,000 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. This settlement is the culmination of an investigation into allegations that Securitas engaged in discriminatory hiring practices against non-U.S. citizens, shining a spotlight on the crucial issue of fair hiring practices and the rights of immigrant workers in the United States.

At the heart of the matter was a complaint received by the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, which alleged that Securitas demanded a lawful permanent resident, commonly referred to as a green card holder, to present their resident card as part of the employment verification process. This requirement was seemingly not imposed on American citizens, who were reportedly allowed to present any document of their choosing for the same purpose.

The investigation, focusing on Securitas' operations in Fremont and Concord, California, revealed a pattern of unfair treatment towards non-U.S. citizens in the document requirements imposed during the hiring process. Specifically, the settlement highlighted that lawful permanent residents were unduly required to present specific documents from List A of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' form I-9, which verifies a worker's identity and legal permission to work in the U.S.

Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, emphasized that employers are not at liberty to restrict the types of documents workers can use to prove their permission to work. She underscored the department's commitment to ensuring that all workers, regardless of their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, have the right to present valid documents of their choice to prove their eligibility to work.

The settlement also shed light on a possible source of the discriminatory practices: a misunderstanding among Securitas employees regarding the company's software tool used in the verification process. This tool, designed to match the photos on a worker's documents with existing records, was mistakenly believed to require specific List A documents to verify an individual's identity and work authorization.

As part of the settlement, Securitas has agreed to pay $175,000, with $100,000 allocated to the U.S. Treasury as a civil penalty and the remaining $75,000 designated for a "back pay fund" to compensate workers who can demonstrate that they suffered economic losses due to the company's alleged discriminatory hiring practices.

This case serves as a crucial reminder to employers across the nation about the importance of understanding and adhering to fair hiring practices, especially concerning immigrant workers. It underscores the legal obligations employers have to ensure an equitable hiring process, free from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

For potential new clients seeking immigration services, this case highlights the complexities of employment and immigration law and the importance of having an experienced immigration attorney to navigate these issues. An attorney with a deep understanding of immigration law, particularly one with experience as a former immigration officer, can provide invaluable guidance and representation in ensuring that employment practices comply with the law and protect the rights of immigrant workers.

As we reflect on the Securitas settlement, it is clear that vigilance and legal expertise are paramount in promoting fair and just hiring practices, protecting the rights of all workers, and ensuring that employers adhere to the legal standards set forth by U.S. immigration and employment laws.


Ryan Harroff, "Security Guard Co. Settles DOJ's Immigration Bias Probe," Law360, April 2, 2024.

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