Nursing home to pay $14,500 settlement over alleged immigrant worker documentation requests

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A New York City nursing home has agreed to a $14,500 settlement related to charges that it was too aggressive in asking immigrant workers to provide documentation, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Isabella Geriatric Center faced allegations that it asked lawful permanent resident employees to present new cards when their Permanent Resident Cards expired, the DOJ stated. This is unnecessary because lawful permanent residents are authorized to work in the United States regardless of the expiration status of their cards. Isabella also allegedly asked workers to provide proof of U.S. citizenship upon becoming naturalized.

Such practices would violate the Immigration and Nationality Act, which became federal law in 1952. The law “prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status,” the DOJ stated.

The federal authorities did not say whether workers had been fired or denied employment based on the disputed documentation requests, and Isabella had not returned a call from McKnight's as of press time. However, in addition to the $14,500 civil penalty, the 705-bed, non-profit facility will create a back pay fund to “compensate potential economic victims,” according to the settlement terms.

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