Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 4:11 am | Partly Cloudy 50º

Select Staffing of Santa Barbara Settles with Department of Justice Over Hiring Practices

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

A Santa Barbara-based company accused of violating federal law in its employment verification process by the U.S. Department of Justice has settled with the agency and will be forced to pay more than $230,000 in fines.

The Justice Department reached an agreement with Real Time Staffing Services LLC, doing business as Select Staffing, which has its corporate office at 3820 State St. in Santa Barbara.

The settlement was reached last Friday and resolves the DOJ’s claims that Select Staffing discriminated against people who were authorized to work in the United States but were not U.S. citizens.

The DOJ argued that the company was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The investigation was initiated by a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and "concluded that members of the company’s staff required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents during the employment eligibility verification process to establish their work authority," according to a statement. 

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers are prohibited from requiring work-authorized employees to present additional documents based on their citizenship status or national origin. 

As a result of the agreement, Select Staffing will pay $230,000 in civil penalties to the United States, create a $35,000 back pay fund to compensate individuals who may have lost wages due to the company’s practices, and undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  

Certain Select Staffing branches will be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for a period of three years, the DOJ stated.

Lori Weathers at Select Staffing told Noozhawk on Thursday that the DOJ incident was isolated to two of the company's 400 nationwide branches.

"As part of the settlement, the company denied the allegation and any wrongdoing and felt it was in our best interest to resolve the matter rather than bear the expense and time associated with litigating it," she said. "The company remains dedicated to complying with all laws and regulations and have taken steps to further improve on our already-tight internal auditing procedures."

Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division said it is committed to protecting work authorized people from discrimination.

“We commend Select Staffing for working cooperatively with the division to resolve this matter," Moran said in a statement.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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