Zoom Video Communications, Inc., was sued for alleged hiring discrimination against a DACA recipient.
According to the lawsuit brought by Royer Ramirez Ruiz, Zoom or a Zoom recruiter carried out improper pre-employment inquiries and ultimately rejected him for a job “due to immigration”, even though he was authorized to work in the United States under Deferred Action for Children’s Arrivals Program.
Under the DACA, deportation protection and work authorization are available to eligible people, typically those who arrived in the United States illegally as children and stayed here.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, is brought under Washington (State) Anti-Discrimination Act and Section 42 USC of 1981, alleging discrimination on the basis of alienation. (Because it predates DACA, the Immigration Reform and Control Act 1986 does not provide recourse for DACA recipients who are denied employment because of their citizenship status. )
Just making a complaint doesn’t mean Zoom has done something wrong. Zoom didn’t even get a chance to respond. However, the trial allegations serve as a useful reminder of just how not manage immigrant status in the hiring process.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Ramirez Ruiz was born in Mexico in 1995. He was brought to the United States in 2001 by his parents and has remained in the United States since then. In 2012, when DACA was first created by executive order of President Obama, Mr. Ramirez Ruiz applied. He obtained DACA status in the same year and has been authorized to work in the United States since his initial approval.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and a minor in physics, Mr. Ramirez Ruiz worked as a software developer and data engineer. In July 2021, a “technical source” contacted him to discuss an open engineer position at Zoom. According to the trial allegations, Mr. Ramirez Ruiz was asked if he needed sponsorship, and he replied that he did not. In a subsequent job interview with a recruiter, Mr Ramirez Ruiz confirmed that he was legally authorized to work in the United States.
Mr Ramirez Ruiz alleges that he participated in a video call with another recruiter on or around July 26, and that the recruiter indicated he was an ideal candidate. However, he alleges that at the end of the call, the recruiter again asked about his need for sponsorship. Mr Ramirez Ruiz has again confirmed that he does not need sponsorship. According to the lawsuit, instead of dropping the case, the recruiter asked Mr. Ramirez Ruiz if he was a citizen of the United States. When he answered no, the recruiter would have asked him if he was a permanent resident.
The lawsuit argues that the recruiter continued to pressure Mr Ramirez Ruiz to disclose the program that granted him a work permit. According to the lawsuit, âthe applicant tried to dodge the issue on several occasions, not wanting to share his specific immigration status and knowing that at this point in the hiring process he was not required to share further. more than the fact that he was legally authorized to work in the United States. âHowever, he eventually revealed that he was a DACA recipient.
The recruiter reportedly replied, âooh, that could be a problem. He reportedly told Mr Ramirez Ruiz that he would check the problem internally before sending Mr Ramirez Ruiz’s resume to a hiring manager.
Two days later, he claims, he received an email from the recruiter saying, â[It] it doesn’t look like we can move forward because of immigration.
Mr Ramirez Ruiz asked the recruiter for further explanation as his DACA status had never been an issue in any other job, but he did not receive a response.
(It is important to note that the lawsuit does not specifically allege that the recruiters were employees of Zoom, as opposed to employees of a third-party recruiter working for Zoom, or employees of a third-party recruiter making “cold references.” to Zoom If they were employees of a recruiting company, the lawsuit does not allege any details about the recruiting entity’s business relationship with Zoom, nor does it allege that Zoom was even aware of it. , let alone allowed, so-called immigration status questions.)
Warning tale for employers
Whether or not the lawsuit is ultimately founded, the allegations provide useful advice to employers on how not to deal with a candidate’s immigration status during the hiring process.
While the IRCA allows employers to ask if a candidate is legally permitted to work in the United States and if sponsorship is required, the recruiters in this case would have gone far beyond that. They asked if Mr. Ramirez Ruiz was a US citizen, if he was a permanent resident and what program he was allowed to work. Then when he revealed under pressure that he was a DACA recipient, he was told “ooh, this could be a problem” and was ultimately refused a job because of his immigrant status.
There is another problem, assuming the allegations in this lawsuit are true. Under the IRCA, an employer cannot question an employee’s documents or responses if they meet the I-9 requirements.
According to Mr Ramirez Ruiz, he said he was legally allowed to work in the United States and did not need sponsorship. If this is true, and assuming he really was the most qualified candidate for the job, he should have been hired and should have been allowed to choose which documents to submit to prove his identity and work authorization in accordance with the ‘IRCA. His employment authorization document would have proven both.