When the EEOC sued First Wireless Group over allegations that it fired Hispanic employees who questioned pay disparities, the company got aggressive. It asked the former employees if they used false names and Social Security numbers when they provided the company with I-9 documentation.
The EEOC got the court to issue a protective order barring First Wireless Group from asking about false Social Security numbers. The court did, however, allow questions about providing other false information such as fake names. The company also can request to see tax returns and ask where the employees were born. It hopes to show that the employees have a propensity towards dishonesty, which it claims is relevant to whether they are telling the truth about their treatment at work.
Final note: Employers should remember that illegal immigration status does not bar employees from suing for workplace discrimination.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Your rules apply--even for employees preparing to sue
- Loud and inappropriate gripe? OK to punish, even if complaint involved discrimination
- When employee complains about discrimination, be alert for signs bosses are retaliating
- Make sure attorney coordinates your response to disability retirement claim and ADA defense