Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Abercrombie & Fitch Inc.

The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. (Abercrombie), a clothing retailer headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.  The agreement resolves a complaint filed with the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), claiming that the company discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).   

The department’s investigation found that Abercrombie required a non-U.S. citizen, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to produce specific documentary proof of her immigration status for the purpose of verifying her employment eligibility.  Specifically, the Department found that Abercrombie required the individual to present a green card.  The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making specific documentary demands based on citizenship status or national origin when verifying an employee’s employment eligibility. 

Under the settlement agreement, Abercrombie will pay $3,661.14 in back pay to the complainant and a civil penalty to the United States; establish a back pay fund of $153, 932.00 to compensate other individuals who may have been harmed; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for two years.

“The division is committed to identifying and tearing down illegal barriers that prevent authorized workers from working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Civil Rights Division commends Abercrombie for working with the division to resolve this matter expeditiously.”         

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  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.  Trial Attorney Luz V. Lopez-Ortiz and Paralegal Ryan Thompson investigated this matter. 

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.  

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to: different documentary requirements based on their citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin; or  discrimination based on their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, should contact OSC’s worker hotline for assistance.

15-803
Updated August 4, 2015