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Medical center charged with discrimination against non-U.S. citizens

Medical center charged with discrimination against non-U.S. citizens

WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the University of California San Diego Medical Center, charging that it discriminated against non-U.S. citizens who are authorized to work in the United States with its employment eligibility verification process.

The DOJ on Tuesday said an independent investigation revealed the center “engaged in a pattern or practice of subjecting newly hired non-U.S. citizens to excessive demands for documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security in order to verify and reverify their employment eligibility, but did not require U.S. citizens to show any specific documentation.”

The DOJ said in its statement that the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision prohibits placing additional documentary burdens on workers based on their citizenship status or national origin.

Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ's civil rights division, said in a statement, “All workers who are authorized to work in the United States have the right to work without encountering discrimination because of their immigration status or national origin.”

The complaint seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination, monetary damages and civil penalties.

A UC San Diego Medical Center spokeswoman said the medical center has not yet seen the lawsuit. But she said the center has been working with the DOJ since January, and is now in compliance with federal regulations. No one was denied employment because of this issue, she said.