SAN DIEGO (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday that it has sued a major San Diego hospital, saying it discriminated against immigrant employees and job applicants.
The department said UCSD Medical Center demanded excessive documentation from non-citizen job applicants and employees to prove they were eligible to work. The lawsuit says the hospital made no such demands of U.S. citizens.
The Justice Department, in a lawsuit filed with its Executive Office for Immigration Review, seeks unspecified monetary damages for affected workers.
"All workers who are authorized to work in the United States have the right to work without encountering discrimination because of their immigration status or national origin," said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division.
UCSD Medical Center said it made changes after the Justice Department raised concerns in January, and it believes it is now in full compliance with federal regulations. The hospital said it hasn't found anyone who was denied employment based on practices being questioned.
The hospital said in a statement that it now allows applicants to choose from a longer list of documents to prove they are eligible to work, such as driver's licenses, Social Security cards and other forms of identification allowed under federal immigration regulations.
UCSD Medical Center said it invited a Department of Homeland Security employee to train its managers on the regulations and discuss "common errors that employers encounter with the complicated federal forms."
The lawsuit contends the hospital discriminated against non-citizen applicants and hires from January 2004 through June 2011.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.