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OSC Shows Vigor in Cracking Down on Unfair Employment Practices
by Carl R. Baldwin

In recent months the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has demonstrated unusual vigor, and effectiveness, in doing its job.

Two recent high-profile settlements should be mentioned. On April 5, 2001, the OSC announced that a Las Vegas Hotel and Casino had agreed to pay over $50,000 in civil penalties and back pay to settle allegations of workplace discrimination. The settlement provides back pay to 22 casino and hotel workers who were fired or suspended when they were unable to comply with the company’s illegal document production requirements. In an impressive instance of employee alertness, the OSC investigation was initiated after a Bosnian refugee alleged that he was fired when he could not produce a new INS work authorization card, even though he had previously produced a Form I-94 stamped “employment authorized.” The OSC Special Counsel, John Trasvina, saw the settlement as an educational opportunity: “Because Las Vegas has the nation’s fastest growing immigrant population, we will educate other area employers about how to comply with the law.”

An even larger settlement was announced more recently, on August 1, 2001, and summarized in Interpreter Releases for August 13, at page 1316. The errant employer was the Tropicana Hotel & Casino of Atlantic City, New Jersey. As in the Las Vegas case, the allegations concerned illegal document production requirements.

An encouraging sign of the OSC’s current seriousness of purpose was the announcement, on July 25, 2001 of the award of $700,000 in grants to eleven nonprofit groups serving 15 states to conduct public education programs for workers and employers about immigration-related job discrimination.

Will IRCA finally make good on its promise to stamp out immigration-related employment discrimination?

About The Author

Carl R. Baldwin graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1980, and became a member of the New York State Bar a year later. He worked for three years with the New York City Law Department, and then entered solo practice in immigration law, which he has continued to the present. His work with clients has included asylum applications, deportation defense, visa processing, adjustment of status, and naturalization. He has also worked to implement special laws, such as the 1986 "amnesty" (The Immigration Reform and Control Act), and the 1998 Haitian reform act (The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act). Mr. Baldwin is the author of Immigration News Monthly. He can be reached by e-mail at

He has written a book on immigration law, called "Immigration Questions and Answers," 1997, Allworth Press, 10 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 (212) 777-8395. The book, which contains essential background information about how the immigration law works, can be ordered in both an English Edition and a Spanish version from