Miami-Dade County Public Schools has settled a U.S. Department of Justice claim that the school district discriminated against job applicants who are immigrants.
The country’s fourth-largest district said the allegations were a paperwork policy error, and that they did not intend to discriminate.
Miami-Dade educates students in a community where more than half of residents are foreign-born, according to Census data.
An investigation conducted by the Civil Rights Division found that the school system asked immigrants to provide specific documents to prove their employment eligibility, however, U.S. citizens were not asked to do the same, according to a statement released by the Justice Department. Earlier this month, the school system agreed to pay a $90,000 civil citation to settle the issue without admitting any wrongdoing.
The Civil Rights began investigating the district in September 2014. Miami-Dade’s practice dates back until at least September 2012, according to the settlement agreement.
In a statement, the head of the Civil Rights Division, said: “Employers must ensure that their human resources staff understand proper hiring practices. Promoting compliance is especially important to ensure that workers are not excluded due to discriminatory treatment.”
In addition to the civil penalty, which will be paid over three years, the district must establish a $125,000 fund to compensate anyone who may have lost wages because of the alleged discrimination. Anyone eligible to be paid should receive notification from the district within the next three months.
Moreover, federal officials must be allowed to conduct trainings regarding workers’ rights in local high schools and adult education centers.
When it comes to anti-discrimination laws, protections against discrimination are available not only to current employees, but to job applicants as well. Just like an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of her gender, that same employer cannot discriminate against a job applicant on account of his or her gender, or other prohibited reasons, as well. Employers can violate anti-discrimination laws during the hiring process by asking improper questions, including:
- How old are you?
- Are you married or single?
- Are you a member of a minority group?
- Where were you born?
- What religious holidays will you be taking off?
- Do you have any handicaps?
- Do you plan to have children?
If you feel like you have been discriminated against in the workplace or during the application/hiring process, a Florida Discrimination Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can give you the practical legal advice you need and deserve. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.