Hewlett Packard Enterprise Accused of Not Hiring ‘Dreamer’ (1)

Oct. 31, 2019, 2:58 PMUpdated: Nov. 1, 2019, 3:48 PM

Hewlett Packard Enterprise refused to hire a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participant for a full-time position because the company wrongly believed it needed to sponsor him for a visa, according to a new lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California.

The complaint filed on behalf of Peruvian-born Carlos Abanto Shinno accuses HPE of alienage and national origin discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. §1981). After refusing to hire Abanto, HPE allegedly hired a less experienced employee who was white and born in the U.S.

HPE, which is reviewing the complaint, said it’s been an advocate for DACA recipients both in Congress and in the courts, including filing an amicus brief in the DACA cases being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The company also is a member of the Coalition for the American Dream, a group of businesses and associations that advocate for young, undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers.”

The case is the latest by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which has represented other DACA recipients who alleged similar employment roadblocks at other prominent companies.

In April, MALDEF brought a proposed class action against VMWare Inc. for allegedly refusing to hire DACA recipients because they don’t have citizenship, a green card, or a transferable visa. The group also sued Bank of America in May 2018 and Procter & Gamble in July 2017.

The VMWare and Procter & Gamble cases are ongoing. The Bank of America case settled in November 2018.

MALDEF also is defending the DACA program against a federal district court challenge brought by the state of Texas to DACA’s legitimacy.

Fate Uncertain

DACA provides protection from deportation and work permits to young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DACA recipients don’t need to be sponsored by an employer in order to work.

The program, however, has been in a state of uncertainty since the Trump administration announced plans to end it in September 2017. The Department of Homeland Security has continued to process DACA renewal applications under various court orders, but hasn’t accepted forms from new applicants.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Nov. 12 in three consolidated cases challenging the decision to end DACA.

Abanto, who has maintained DACA status since 2012, was hired by HPE in 2014 for a paid summer internship at its Roseville, Calif., location, the Oct. 30 complaint said. That internship was extended through 2017, and Abanto put the completion of his master’s degree on hold on the belief that he would be hired for a permanent position, it said.

In the summer of 2017, Abanto’s supervisors informed him that he wouldn’t be hired because the company wouldn’t sponsor him for employment authorization, even though DACA doesn’t require such sponsorship, the complaint said. The company in 2018 hired a white, U.S.-born intern who had just come on board the year before, it said.

“HPE is committed to an inclusive workforce,” a company spokesman said. “We take any concerns raised about our work environment seriously and investigate them fully,” he said in a statement. “We are reviewing the complaint.”

The case is Abanto Shinno v. Hewlett Packard Enter., N.D. Cal., No. 5:19-cv-07175, complaint filed 10/30/19.

(Oct. 31 story updated to include comment from HPE.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura D. Francis in Washington at lfrancis@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com

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