WASHINGTON — Covenant Transport Inc. and its affiliated entity Transport Management Services LLC must pay $700,000 to the federal government as part of an anti-discrimination settlement.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the agreement with the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based companies resolves the department’s determination that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by routinely discriminating against non-U.S. citizen workers when checking their permission to work in the United States.
“Employers cannot discriminate against non-U.S. citizens by demanding specific or unnecessary documents from them to prove their permission to work,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to ensuring compliance with our federal civil rights laws so that non-U.S. citizens with permission to work can contribute their talents to our workforce.”
According to the news release, the department’s investigation found that from January 2020 through at least August 2022, Covenant and Transport routinely discriminated against non-U.S. citizens by requiring lawful permanent residents to show their Permanent Resident Cards (known as green cards) and by requiring other non-U.S. citizens to show documents related to their immigration status.
Federal law allows all workers to choose which valid, legally acceptable documentation to present to demonstrate their identity and permission to work, regardless of citizenship status, immigration status or national origin.
The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from requiring specific or unnecessary documents because of a worker’s citizenship status, immigration status or national origin.
“Indeed, many non-U.S. citizens, including lawful permanent residents, are eligible for several of the same types of documents to prove their permission to work as U.S. citizens. For example, a state ID or driver’s license and an unrestricted Social Security card may be used,” the news release stated. “Employers must allow workers to present whatever acceptable documentation the workers choose and cannot reject valid documentation that reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the worker.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Covenant and Transport will pay $700,000 in civil penalties to the United States, train their employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination requirements, revise their employment policies and be subject to monitoring by the department.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.