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Press Release

Justice Department Secures Agreement with Florida Restaurant to Resolve Claims of Employment Discrimination

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that it secured a settlement agreement with OSI/Fleming’s LLC, which owns and operates the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (Fleming’s) restaurant in Sandestin, Florida. The agreement resolves the department’s determination that Fleming’s violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against a lawful permanent resident when checking whether he had ongoing permission to work.

“Employers that discriminate against workers by rejecting their valid documents or requiring that they show unnecessary documents to prove they can continue to work violate federal law,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to hold employers accountable for unlawfully discriminating against workers because of citizenship, immigration status or national origin.”

After opening an investigation based on a worker’s complaint, the department concluded that Fleming’s discriminated against a lawful permanent resident by rejecting the valid documents the worker originally provided and unnecessarily requiring him to present a document with an expiration date to prove his citizenship status. When he failed to do so, Fleming’s fired him, according to the department. Federal law allows workers to choose which valid, legally acceptable documentation to present to demonstrate their identity and permission to work, regardless of citizenship, immigration status or national origin. Employers cannot demand more documents than are necessary or specify documentation they prefer to see as part of this process.

After the department started its investigation, Fleming’s rehired the worker and paid him lost wages. Under the agreement, Fleming’s will pay a civil penalty to the United States, train its human resources staff on the INA’s requirements and provide an alternative way of accepting a worker’s documentation if the company’s software will not accept a worker’s valid documentation. 

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits employment discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practicesretaliation; and intimidation

Find more information on how employers can avoid discrimination when verifying someone’s permission to work on IER’s website. Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify); or subjected to retaliation, may file a charge. The public can also call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email; sign up for a live webinar or watch an on-demand presentation or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe for email updates from IER.

Updated December 7, 2023

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 23-1385