SAN JOSE, CA – A Palo-Alto-based multinational information technology company engaged in employment discrimination against a young immigrant who is authorized to work in this country, according to a federal lawsuit filed today.
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed the suit on behalf of Carlos Abanto Shinno, an immigrant who is authorized to work under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and is suing Hewlett Packard Enterprise for violating federal law.
HP is accused of violating Section 1981 of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits discrimination in employment contracting based on alienage, national origin, and immigration status, or based on national origin
“Every young person who is legally authorized to work should be able to pursue their career ambitions without facing discrimination because of citizenship or specific immigration status,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “There is no excuse for large and sophisticated employers to engage in this kind of unlawful discrimination.”
Abanto worked as a paid intern at HP’s Roseville office in Northern California from June 2014 through November 2017. While at HP, he asked his supervisors about obtaining a full-time position and was told the company could only retain him as an intern. Abanto continued to inquire about obtaining a full-time job at HP, even offering to work at a different location. Each time, his supervisors discouraged him. HP would not hire Abanto because the company didn’t want to sponsor him on account of his status, according to the lawsuit. DACA recipients do not require employer sponsorship in order to work. In the last few months while Abanto was still at HP, the company brought in new interns, including a white undergraduate student who was a U.S. citizen. Shortly after Abanto left the company he learned that HP hired the undergraduate student who had less experience and education than Abanto.
“I dedicated three years of my life to HP, working nights and weekends (as we are taught to do as interns) only to realize I was being taken advantage because of my DACA status, used as cheap labor,” Abanto said. “I hope this case serves as an example for other Dreamers in my situation, to make a stand against corporate greed.”
The lawsuit seeks to require HP to pay damages and for a declaration that its policy violates federal law.
“Mr. Abanto appeared to do everything he could for a career at HP,” said MALDEF staff attorney Andres Holguin-Flores. “HP extended Mr. Abanto’s internship for three years because he was such a valuable individual to the company. Yet, HP did not appear to value Mr. Abanto’s contributions because of his immigration status. Immigrants continue to face barriers in the workplace and society despite immigrants’ invaluable contributions to this nation and their employers.”
The lawsuit is the sixth filed by MALDEF since 2017 challenging employment policies that discriminate against DACA recipients. MALDEF has filed class-action lawsuits on behalf of DACA recipients who were denied employment in California, New Jersey and Florida.
Since it was initiated in 2012, DACA has provided protection from deportation and granted work authorization to hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
Read the complaint HERE.