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Latino Daily News

Sunday December 2, 2012

Justice Dept. Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against North Carolina Firm

Justice Dept. Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against North Carolina Firm

Photo: North Carolina

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The Justice Department announced that it reached an agreement with Gamewell Mechanical Inc., a subsidiary of Woodfin Heating, Inc. based in Salisbury, N.C., resolving claims that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when it terminated three employees based on the incorrect assumption that they were undocumented foreign nationals when they were in fact U.S. citizens. 

The company is in the mechanical construction business and fabricates and installs heating and cooling systems. 

The investigation stemmed from a charge filed by one of the three U.S. citizens.  The investigation revealed that Gamewell officials had terminated the three individuals when it received information that six of their co-workers were undocumented foreign nationals and incorrectly assumed that the three U.S. citizens were similarly not authorized to work in the United States. 

Under the settlement agreement, Gamewell Mechanical will pay a total of $10,560 in back pay to the three discharged U.S. citizens, and $9,600 in civil penalties to the United States.  Gamewell Mechanical will also train its human resources staff about employers’ responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process and be subject to reporting and compliance monitoring by the department for 18 months.