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Proctor & Gamble Agrees to $3.48 Million Settlement of DACA Class Action

David Rodriguez initiated his lawsuit against consumer goods company Proctor & Gamble (P&G) in July 2017. While Rodriguez was a part-time college student at Florida International University, he applied for an internship with the company. A Venezuelan national, Rodriguez had authorization to work in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative. P&G’s application process included a pre-screening questionnaire with several questions about applicants’ immigration status. In communications with P & G, Rodriguez explained his valid work permit and let them know he did not require employer sponsorship. He received a rejection letter from the company just a couple of days later.

Rodriguez sued under Section 1981, alleging alienage discrimination on behalf of himself and a similarly situated class of applicants with federal authorizations to work. These individuals were not U.S. citizens, refugees, asylees, or lawful permanent residents. In addition to DACA, these individuals had authorizations under Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Enforced Departure, U-visas, T visas, and the Violence Against Women Act. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 individuals allegedly applied for P&G internships and/or entry-level positions but were denied consideration. The parties proceeded through several years of litigation, including extensive document production and depositions.

Under the proposed terms of the settlement, P&G would provide $1.5 million in settlement funds, $1.9 million in attorneys’ fees and costs, and additional funds to cover settlement administration expenses. P&G also committed to eliminating its automatic exclusion of DACA recipients and other noncitizen applications with federal work authorizations from consideration for jobs and internships. A federal judge must approve the settlement. P&G publicly stated it embraces diversity and inclusion. It also encouraged the government to find a legislative solution that provides certainty for employers and employees.