Omnicare, Justice settle federal anti-discrimination case

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The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that it has reached a settlement with long-term care pharmacy provider Omnicare Inc., ending an investigation into whether the company violated an anti-discrimination rule included in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The case was initiated in response to a worker's complaint and revolved around  Omnicare's treatment of a non-resident applicant with asylum status, according to a press release issued by federal officials.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division alleged Omnicare discriminated against a job applicant by refusing to refer him to the hiring manager for an interview because he was not a permanent resident or U.S. citizen. He was removed from the candidate pool based on his status as an asylee. The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits employers from discriminating against asylees because of their citizenship or immigration status.

A spokesman for CVS Health, Omnicare's owner, said “firm nondiscrimination policies” are rigorously enforced throughout the company and that this case involved an outside recruitment firm that did not follow those policies.

“The recruiter involved was not an employee of CVS Health or Omnicare,” CVS said in a statement provided to McKnights. “As part of the settlement, Omnicare will require its recruitment contractors to receive training on Immigrant and Employee Rights.”

Under the settlement agreement, Omnicare will pay about $3,600, the maximum civil penalty for one instance of citizenship status discrimination, post notices informing workers about their anti-discrimination rights and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for two years.

“Employers should ensure that all of the employees and contractors who screen their applicants for employment have the proper training to avoid improperly rejecting work authorized applicants based on a protected citizenship or immigration status,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division.