The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with a food service provider resolving allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The company based in Spartanburg, S.C., is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. With over 10,000 employees nationwide, they provide food service to over 250 stadiums, convention centers and entertainment venues across the country.
The Justice Department’s investigation was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under a memorandum of agreement between the Civil Rights Division and USCIS. The department’s investigation concluded that, for at least the past three years, the company engaged in a pattern or practice of treating work-eligible non-U.S. citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the INA’s employment eligibility verification processes, including E-Verify, by requiring specific documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security from non-U.S. citizens, while not making similar requests of U.S. citizens.
Under the terms of the agreement, the food service provider has agreed to pay $250,000 in civil penalties, the third highest amount paid through settlement since enactment of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision in 1986. The company has also agreed to fully compensate any victims who lost wages as a result of their practices, undergo Justice 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 case settled prior to the Justice Department filing a complaint in this matter.
“Work-eligible applicants – citizens and non-citizens alike – deserve fair and equal treatment in the eligibility verification process,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Therefore, we will continue to vigorously enforce the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.”