The Justice Department announced today that it has reached an agreement with the city of Waterloo, Iowa, resolving allegations that the city violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The department initiated its investigation after a charge was filed by a work-authorized, lawful permanent resident alleging that the city refused to consider him for a fire fighter position because he was not a U.S. citizen. The department’s investigation confirmed that the city of Waterloo improperly restricted fire fighter positions to U.S. citizens despite the fact that no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized the city to legally restrict employment in such a manner under the INA. The investigation further revealed that the city of Waterloo had refused to consider the charging party’s application on the basis of his citizenship status.
Under the settlement agreement, the city of Waterloo must provide the charging party with another opportunity to apply for the position and must hire or otherwise compensate the charging party if the charging party’s performance on the city’s hiring tests confirm that he would have been hired in the absence of discrimination. In addition, the city of Waterloo will pay $13,000 in civil penalties to the United States, and has agreed to make changes to its policies and practices to ensure unlawful citizenship requirements are not imposed, to provide training to city officials, and to be subject to monitoring by the department for one year.
“Employers must make sure that they are not erecting unlawful, discriminatory barriers in hiring,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The department is committed to knocking down these barriers through its enforcement of the INA and making sure that work-authorized applicants have equal employment opportunities.”
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the immigration laws, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2525, TTY for hearing impaired), call OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-362-2735, TTY for hearing impaired), sign up for a free webinar at