The state of Colorado has found itself in the middle of multiple immigration-related protests and lawsuits. Just one month ago Governor John Hickenlooper announced that Colorado would join 15 other states in the filing of a lawsuit challenging a federal government plan to end protections that prevent young immigrants from being deported. In the middle of the volatile situation, one Colorado company finds itself facing accusations of citizenship-related discrimination. However, instead of discriminating against immigrants the company is being accused of discriminating against applicants who are United States citizens.
The First Complaints
Crop Production Services, a company known for providing fertilizer, seed, agricultural chemicals, and various custom agriculture services, received its first complaint in 2016. Two applicants, Javier and Ramiro Salinas, applied to work as temporary technicians at one of the company’s rice breeding facilities. Both men claim that they were denied employment and refused an interview because they were not “foreign workers.” The men claim that in spite of having over two decades of experience between them, the company would not allow them to continue the application process because they were both United States citizens.
Additional Workers Step Forward
Once the company filled all 15 of their job openings with H-2A visa holders additional applicants came forward claiming they were denied an opportunity to complete an interview or were told they would not be hired at the interview based on discriminatory reasoning. One applicant who is a United States citizen alleged that he was refused employment based on his limited proficiency in English even though the company went on to hire other workers with visas who spoke no English at all. Currently the complaint claims that at least three people were denied employment based on their citizenship status and the Department of Justice is concerned that others were victims of hiring discrimination, as well.
Protecting U.S. Workers
The complaints and lawsuit are ultimately a result of the Protecting United States Workers Initiative. The program is meant to ensure United States workers are protected from discrimination from companies who prefer hiring foreign workers with visas. According to program requirements, employers are supposed to make an effort to hire qualified workers who are United States citizens prior to extending offers of employment to foreign workers.
In addition to complaints of hiring discrimination, the Colorado-based company is also accused of placing more requirements on those United States Citizen that they did ultimately hire. Workers claim Crop Production Services would not allow them to start work until a background check was completed and they passed a drug test. Workers with visas were allowed to begin working immediately instead of being forced to wait until the tests were completed.
Identifying Hiring Discrimination
Determining whether or not you were discriminated against during the hiring stage is not always easy. Applicants are turned away for valid reasons often, but if you feel uncomfortable about your interview or something the company’s current employees says, it is best to seek the opinion of a professional. The discrimination attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys are available to discuss your concerns and answer your questions. If you feel that you were denied employment for an illegal or unethical reason, contact us today and schedule a consultation so that we can begin helping you find out the truth.