A Houston bus company is facing a lawsuit for its hiring practices. Although many discrimination suits are the result of employers excluding individuals on the basis of their natural origin being outside of the country, the Texas company has allegedly been failing to consider employing qualified United States citizens while preferring to instead hire foreign workers on H-2B temporary worker visas. The suit claims that the company disregarded applications from lawful permanent residents and qualified citizens to fill open positions.

Companies are allowed to bring foreign nationals into the country through the H-2B temporary worker program provided they can show that there aren’t enough United States workers to fill open positions. The suit states that the company applied to both the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for authorization to hire 50 foreign workers. The company then hired more than 40 foreign workers on H-2B visas while allegedly disregarding the applications of lawful permanent residents and qualified citizens.

The suit also states that the company reported to the U.S. Department of Labor that the hiring of foreign workers were based on there not being enough qualified domestic workers to fill their open positions. An order is being sought to prevent any future discriminatory hiring practices by the company. Civil penalties, injunctive relief, and back pay for those affected are also being sought.

If the Texas company’s alleged acts are proven, it will be in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA contains a provision prohibiting employers from practicing discrimination based on citizenship status, in which case it may be proven that the company refused employment to citizens and lawful residents based on their status as such. Hiring biases can take many forms, many of which can be proven to be wrongful acts under labor laws. Individuals who are fully qualified for a position and who feel that they were passed over because of factors not relevant to their qualifications or experience will find it to be to their benefit to seek the advice and assistance of a those well-versed in the laws governing labor.

Source: Source: justice.gov, “USDOJ: Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Texas Bus Company Alleging Employment Discrimination Against U.S. Citizens and Other Individuals,” Aug. 5, 2013