April 19, 2010
To the John Jay College Community:
I am writing to respond to various news accounts regarding allegations that John Jay College has discriminated against non-citizens in our employment practices. These news accounts have left the erroneous impression that the College has engaged in widespread discriminatory practices. Nothing could be further from the truth.
On Friday, April 16, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices had filed a complaint against John Jay College, alleging that the College engaged in a pattern of job discrimination against non-citizens who were authorized to work. The complaint states that the College violated provisions of the immigration law by demanding extra work authorization documents from at least 103 non-citizens since 2007, rather than requiring only those work-eligibility documents required of citizens, such as a Social Security card and a driver’s license.
The College has acknowledged that the individual who brought the complaint was improperly required to provide this extra work authorization documents and was improperly taken off payroll. We have cooperated with the Department of Justice to determine whether this practice was more extensive and whether other non-citizens have been harmed in any way. The Department of Justice interviewed an additional eleven John Jay employees, and found that they too had been asked to provide extra work authorization documents. None of them have suffered any adverse consequences due to this improper practice. Accordingly, we have agreed with the DOJ to engage in a comprehensive training program for our employees who check these documents. To the best of my knowledge, we have found no evidence that 103 non-citizens were adversely affected by this practice as is alleged in the complaint.
Since the Department of Justice opened this case in 2008, John Jay has provided its fullest cooperation. We have agreed in principle with the Justice Department to settle the case and to fully compensate the one employee who was adversely affected. We will also institute a comprehensive training program to prevent any recurrence.
As we resolve this complaint, we reaffirm our commitment to providing employment opportunities to non- citizens who are authorized to work in the country. We are proud of our record of supporting the aspirations of immigrants who come to this country to work, study, and pursue their life’s ambitions.