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United States of America v. Automotive Creations, Inc., Dynamic Auto Images, Inc., Prestige Auto Specialists, Inc., and Expert Automotive Reconditioning, Inc.
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of California (Orange County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Alberto Ruisanchez, Liza Zand and Jasmin Lott
Defendant's Attorney: Not Available
Santa Ana, CA - Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Four California Car Reconditioning Companies
The Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with four car reconditioning companies in California: Automotive Creations, Inc., Dynamic Auto Images, Inc., Prestige Auto Specialists, Inc., and Expert Automotive Reconditioning, Inc. (collectively, the Companies). The settlement resolves the Department’s investigation into whether the Companies violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against lawful permanent residents when verifying their authorization to work in the United States.
“The Civil Rights Division remains committed to ensuring that employers do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of citizenship, immigration status, or national origin when requesting documents to verify employees’ work authorization,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the Companies for their commitment to ensuring that all future documentary requests will comply with the law.”
The Department’s independent investigation concluded that, from at least October 2015 through at least August 2018, the Companies requested that lawful permanent residents produce unnecessary and specific immigration documents to prove their work authorization, even when they had provided other legally acceptable documents. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization based on the employees’ citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. All work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, have the right to choose which legally acceptable documents to present to demonstrate their ability to work in the United States.
Under the settlement, the Companies will pay $159,000 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements. Additionally, certain employees will be required to attend training on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
More information on how employers can avoid unlawful discrimination is available here. Workers can find information about their rights under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA here. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; or discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.
THIS SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (the “Agreement”) is made and entered into by
and between Automotive Creations, Inc. (“Automotive”), Dynamic Auto Images, Inc.
(“Dynamic”), Prestige Auto Specialists, Inc. (“Prestige”), and Expert Automotive
Reconditioning, Inc. (“Expert”) (collectively, “Respondents”), and the United States Department
of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (“IER”), (together, the
WHEREAS, on January 8, 2018, IER notified Automotive that it had initiated an
investigation under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(d)(1), DJ no. 197-12C-1622, to determine whether
Automotive engaged in unfair documentary practices prohibited under the anti-discrimination
provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6) (“Act”);
WHEREAS, on March 18, 2019, IER notified Dynamic, Prestige, and Expert that it was
investigating whether the companies engaged in unfair documentary practices prohibited under
the Act, DJ nos. 197-12C-1662, 197-12C-1663, 197-12C-1664, respectively;
WHEREAS, IER determined, based upon its investigations of Respondents (together, the
“Investigations”), that there is reasonable cause to believe that Respondents engaged in a pattern
or practice of unfair documentary practices in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6). Specifically,
the Investigations found that Respondents required Lawful Permanent Residents, but not
similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents during employment eligibility
verification (“EEV”) processes because of their citizenship status;
WHEREAS, the Parties wish to resolve IER’s reasonable cause findings without further
delay or expense and hereby acknowledge that they are voluntarily entering into this Agreement;
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises contained below, and to
fully and finally resolve the Investigations, the Parties agree as follows:
II. TERMS OF SETTLEMENT
1. This Agreement becomes effective as of the date the last party signs the Agreement,
referenced herein as the “Effective Date.” The “term of this Agreement” shall be three
years following the Effective Date.
2. Respondents shall pay a total civil penalty of one hundred fifty-nine thousand dollars and
no cents ($159,000.00) to the United States Treasury to be allocated as follows:
(a) Automotive shall pay a total civil penalty of $64,500.00 ($12,000.00 payable
on or before September 3, 2019 and four consecutive payments of $13,125.00
to be paid on March 2, 2020; October 1, 2020; March 1, 2021; and October 1,
(b) Expert shall pay a total civil penalty $45,000.00 ($9,000.00 payable on or
before September 3, 2019 and four consecutive payments of $9,000.00 to be
paid on March 2, 2020; October 1, 2020; March 1, 2021; and October 1,
(c) Dynamic shall pay a total civil penalty of $34,500.00 ($6,000.00 payable on
or before September 3, 2019 and four consecutive payments of $7,125.00 to
be paid on March 2, 2020; October 1, 2020; March 1, 2021; and October 1,
(d) Prestige shall pay a total civil penalty of $15,000.00 ($3,000.00 payable on or
before September 3, 2019 and four consecutive payments of $3,000.00 to be
paid on March 2, 2020; October 1, 2020; March 1, 2021; and October 1,
Each Respondent shall be obligated to pay only the amount of the civil penalty allocated
to that Respondent.
3. Respondents shall provide IER with the name, job title, email address, and telephone
number of the individual responsible for effectuating the civil penalty payments no later
than three days after the Effective Date.
4. IER shall provide Respondents the initial fund transfer instructions in advance of each
payment date. Respondents shall pay the monies discussed in Paragraph 2 via the
FedWire electronic fund transfer system. Respondents shall coordinate that the above
civil penalty payments be made in a single payment at the time it is due. For example, on
September 3, 2019, a single payment in the amount of $30,000.00 shall be made by
Respondents, with a memo notation or email to Jasmin Lott at Jasmin.Lott@usdoj.gov
(or any other individual IER designates) stating the amount each Respondent is
contributing to the payment. Similarly, on March 2, 2020 (and three more times
thereafter) a single payment in the amount of $32,250.00 shall be made by Respondents
with a memo notation or email to Jasmin Lott at Jasmin.Lott@usdoj.gov (or any other
individual IER designates) stating the amount each Respondent is contributing to the
payment. On each day of payment, Respondents shall send confirmation of the payment
to Jasmin Lott at Jasmin.Lott@usdoj.gov (or any other individual IER designates).
5. The provisions of Paragraph 2 notwithstanding, IER shall not seek from Respondents any
additional civil penalty for the pattern or practice of unfair documentary practices
committed in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324b that is the subject of the Investigations
through the Effective Date.
6. Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, Respondents shall not discriminate against applicants or
employees based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, during the
recruitment hiring, firing, and EEV processes.
7. Respondents shall avoid discrimination in the EEV processes by: (a) honoring
documentation that on its face reasonably appears to be genuine, relates to the person,
and satisfies the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(b); (b) not requesting more or different
documents than are required by law; and (c) permitting all employees to present any
document or combination of documents acceptable by law.
8. Respondents shall not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or retaliate against any person for his
or her participation in this matter or the exercise of any right or privilege secured by 8
U.S.C. § 1324b.
9. Respondents shall post an English and Spanish version of IER’s “If You Have The Right
to Work” poster (“IER Poster”), in color and measuring no smaller than 8.5” by 11”, an
image of which is available at https://www.justice.gov/crt/worker-information#poster, in
all places where notices to employees and job applicants are normally posted.
Respondents shall post the IER Poster within 14 days from the Effective Date and will
maintain the poster for three years thereafter.
10. Throughout the term of this Agreement, Respondents shall provide a copy of the most
current version of the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents (“Lists”) to employees,
and provide individual copies as needed, at the same time as Respondents provide them
with the Form I-9 to complete, and shall inform those individuals of their right to choose
to present any document(s) that are on the Lists or are otherwise acceptable for purposes
11. During the term of this Agreement, Respondents shall ensure that all individuals who are
responsible for formulating, providing training on, or implementing Respondents’ hiring,
firing, equal employment, and EEV policies, including all Area Managers, Location
Managers, and employees who have any role in the EEV process, such as completing the
Form I-9, using the E-Verify program, and/or requesting documentation from employees
for the Form I-9 (“Human Resources Personnel”), have available:
(a) the most current version of the Form I-9 instructions, available at
(b) the most current USCIS Employment Eligibility Verification Handbook for
Employers (M-274) (“Handbook”), available at www.uscis.gov/i-9-central,
(c) the most current USCIS E-Verify Manual (M-775) (“Manual”), available at
12. Within 60 days of the Effective Date, Respondents will revise any existing written
employment policies, or develop new written policies, that relate to nondiscrimination in
hiring, EEV, or termination, and provide them to IER for review and approval.
Respondents’ employment policies shall:
(a) prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship or immigration status (as
appropriate) and national origin in the hiring and firing processes, and during
the EEV processes;
(b) prohibit retaliation, intimidation, or reprisal against any individual for having
opposed any employment practice made unlawful by 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, or for
filing any charge, or participating in any lawful manner in any investigation or
action under 8 U.S.C. § 1324b;
(c) be made available to applicants and employees; and
(d) refer applicants and employees who complain, formally or informally, of
discrimination in the hiring, firing, or EEV process to the IER Poster and
IER’s worker hotline (800-255-7688) and website (www.justice.gov/ier), and
advise the affected individual of his or her right to file a charge of
discrimination with IER.
13. Within 90 days of the Effective Date, Respondents shall train all Human Resources
Personnel on 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, the appropriate use of E-Verify, and the EEV process as
it relates to discrimination on the basis of citizenship, immigration status, and national
(a) The training will consist of viewing a free IER webinar presentation, or,
subject to the mutual agreement of the Parties, a live IER presentation.
(b) Respondents shall pay all employees their normal rate of pay, and the training
will occur during their normally scheduled workdays and work hours.
(c) During the term of the Agreement, all new Human Resources Personnel shall
attend an IER Employer/HR webinar training within 60 days of hire or
promotion. Respondents may find the webinar schedule and registration links
(d) Respondents shall compile attendance records listing the individuals who
attend the training described in this paragraph, including each individual’s full
name, job title, employer, signature, and the date of the training, and shall
send the record via email to Jasmin Lott at Jasmin.Lott@usdoj.gov or any
other individual IER designates within 10 days of each training session. The
emails transmitting attendance records shall include Respondent’s name and
the investigation number in the subject line.
14. Within 120 days of the Effective Date, Respondents shall provide all Human
Resources Personnel with training that assesses their understanding of the Form I-9
process and rules as follows:
(a) Respondents shall require these individuals to answer 20 multiple choice
measurement and assessment questions that IER provides Respondents. The
individuals answering the measurement and assessment questions may refer to
written government resources, including but not limited to, the Form I-9 and
its instructions, the Handbook, and/or USCIS’s I-9 Central website, when
answering the questions. Respondents shall review and score each
individual’s responses to the questions.
(b) If any individual answers a question incorrectly, Respondents shall, within 3
days, require the individual who answered incorrectly to read one or more of
the government resources outlined in Paragraph 14(a) and answer the
question(s) again until the individual answers the question(s) correctly.
Within 10 days after completion of the measurement and assessment
described in this paragraph, Respondents will provide IER with:
i. A list of the questions any individual answered incorrectly, and the
incorrect answer(s) each individual selected; and
ii. A confirmation/certification that the assessment was given to all
Human Resources Personnel, and that Respondents complied with all
provisions in Paragraph 14 of the Agreement.
15. During the term of this Agreement, IER reserves the right to make reasonable inquiries as
it believes necessary or appropriate to assess Respondents’ compliance with this
Agreement, including but not limited to, requiring written reports from Respondents
concerning their compliance; inspecting Respondents’ premises; interviewing
Respondents’ employees, officials or other persons; and requesting copies of
16. Within 10 days of the Effective Date and every 90 days thereafter during the term of this
Agreement, Respondents shall provide IER with all Forms I-9 and any attachments in
which any Respondent completed Section 2 or Section 3 in the previous 90 days.
17. Nothing in this Agreement limits IER’s right to inspect Respondents’ Forms I-9 pursuant
to 8 C.F.R. § 274a.2(b)(2)(ii).
18. This Agreement does not affect the right of any individual to file an IER charge alleging
an unfair immigration-related employment practice, IER’s authority to investigate
Respondents or file a complaint on behalf of any such individual, or IER’s authority to
conduct an independent investigation of any of Respondents’ employment practices.
III. ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SETTLEMENT
19. If IER has reason to believe that one or all Respondents are in violation of any provision
of this Agreement, IER may, in its sole discretion, notify the relevant Respondent(s) of
the purported violation rather than initiate a new discrimination investigation or seek to
judicially enforce the Agreement. The relevant Respondent(s) shall have 30 days from
the date of IER’s notification to provide IER with information and/or cure any
violation(s) to IER’s satisfaction before IER deems the relevant Respondent(s) to be in
violation of this Agreement.
20. The United States District Court for the Central District of California shall be the
preferred venue for enforcement of any claims over which that court has subject matter
jurisdiction. Otherwise, a party must bring any claim or counterclaim to enforce the
agreement in a court of competent jurisdiction. This provision does not constitute a * * *