BROOKLYN, N.Y. – A Latino civil rights group is suing a national technology company for unlawfully denying a DACA recipient employment because of her immigration status, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court today.
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against Revature LLC on behalf of Maria Jerez, 29, a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Jerez, a resident of Queens, who has a degree in engineering science, was invited to apply for a job with Revature, LLC earlier this year. However, after she applied and was interviewed by a representative, the representative told her Revature could not hire her because of her immigration status.
The company’s hiring policies violate federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of immigration status, according to the complaint. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all non-citizens who were legally authorized to work in the United States but were denied employment by Revature on the basis of their immigration status.
“In addition to being unlawful, discriminating against DACA recipients is contrary to any company’s interest in hiring the best workers available; thus, Revature is holding itself back by its backward hiring policy,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “There really is no excuse for any sophisticated company to engage in this kind of blatantly discriminatory and unlawful behavior.”
Revature, based in Reston, Virginia, hires workers, trains them to code and to use digital tools and then helps place them in jobs with other companies. In February, Jerez filled out an application for an entry-level job on the company’s website. The website asked a series of questions including whether an applicant is legally authorized to work in the United States. As a DACA recipient, Jerez is authorized to work in the U.S., so she answered “yes.”
After she applied, a Revature representative contacted Jerez for an interview. Although Jerez confirmed that she was authorized to work through DACA during the interview, the representative told Jerez that she did not qualify for employment because she was not a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen and ended the call. Jerez subsequently emailed Revature’s department of human resources asking for clarification on the hiring policy. In reply, the company sent an email telling her “Revature is not currently sponsoring work visas or transfers at this time. Green Card or U.S. Citizenship is required.”
“It’s unfortunate that companies and organizations continue to deny basic working rights to DACA recipients,” Jerez said. “After living in fear for so many years, despite having DACA, there comes a point where one realizes enough is enough. Those of us who continue to be marginalized must find the guts to break this fear and speak up; it is the only way to move forward and create a more inclusive society. I look forward to using my voice to defend this right and help pave the way for less frightening and more inclusive hiring practices.”
The lawsuit is the eighth 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, New York, Florida and North Carolina.
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.
“Revature, LLC’s practice and policy of excluding DACA recipients and other qualified and intelligent individuals with work authorization from employment is illegal,” said MALDEF attorney Andres Holguin-Flores. “Revature, LLC and other companies cannot continue to discriminate on the basis of immigration status. It is a shame that Revature, LLC maintains this discriminatory practice and policy, especially since it identifies itself as an entry-point employer in an industry that continues to struggle with diversity and inclusion.”
Read the complaint HERE.