Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Nebraska Beef to Enforce Civil Rights Settlement

The Justice Department announced today the filing of a lawsuit against Nebraska Beef Ltd., which is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, for failing to comply with the terms of a settlement agreement that the parties entered to resolve a civil rights investigation.

The complaint alleges that Nebraska Beef entered into a settlement agreement with the Justice Department on Aug. 24, 2015, to resolve the department’s investigation into whether Nebraska Beef was discriminating against work-authorized non-citizens.  The agreement requires Nebraska Beef to pay $200,000 as a civil penalty, and also to compensate affected workers who present valid claims for backpay, among other terms.  Although Nebraska Beef’s civil penalty payment was due ten business days after the agreement was signed by both parties, the company has failed to make any payments.  Nebraska Beef has stated that it will not comply with almost all of the terms of the agreement because it feels that the department’s press release announcing the agreement should have been worded differently.  The parties’ agreement, however, does not contain any terms or provisions restricting the language in the department’s press release. 

“The Department of Justice will take swift action not only when an employer discriminates against its employees, but also when an employer fails to live up to its end of an agreement,” said Principal Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “It is important that employers understand and abide by their duties not to engage in discriminatory practices, and honor their commitments under a settlement.”          

The Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which was the subject of the department’s investigation of Nebraska Beef.  Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating against people with permission to work in the United States because of their citizenship status, including by asking non-citizens to present more or different documents than necessary to prove their authorization to work in the United States.     

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/webinars.php, email osccrt@usdoj.gov; or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.   

Civil Rights
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Updated November 10, 2016