Justice Department and San Francisco Restaurant Settle Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim

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The Justice Department today reached an agreement with a restaurant in San Francisco resolving claims that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

In a charge filed with the department, a work-authorized immigrant alleged, and the department found, that the restaurant improperly rejected valid work-authorization documents when re-verifying her authorization for employment, which caused the immigrant to believe she had been terminated.  The investigation also revealed that the employer believed she could ask non-U.S. citizens to produce specific documents to establish work authorization upon initial hire, but did not need to make similar demands of U.S. citizens.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating against non-U.S. citizens in the employment eligibility verification process by demanding different documentation than U.S. citizens are required to present.

In response to the department’s investigation, the restaurant offered to rehire the charging party and provide back pay for the charging party’s month of lost wages.  Under the terms of the agreement, the restaurant must pay $485 in civil penalties to the United States, undergo department training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of three years.  The employer also agreed to post the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices’ (OSC) “Right to Work” poster, which highlights the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The case settled prior to the department filing a complaint in this matter.

“Imposing different documentary requirements on individuals based on their citizenship status during the employment eligibility verification process is discrimination prohibited by the INA,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels.  “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting U.S. citizens and all work-authorized immigrants from document abuse.”

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