Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Florida Restaurant
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with Ark Rustic Inn LLC d/b/a Rustic Inn Crabhouse (Rustic Inn), a restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The agreement resolves the department’s investigation into whether Rustic Inn discriminated against work-authorized immigrants when verifying their employment authorization, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The department’s investigation revealed that Rustic Inn routinely requested that work-authorized non-U.S. citizens present specific documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards or Employment Authorization Documents, to verify their citizenship status information, but did not subject U.S. citizens to such verification. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to different or unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status or national origin.
Under the settlement, Rustic Inn will pay a civil penalty to the United States, train its staff, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.
“Employers, large and small, must be aware of their legal obligations to avoid imposing barriers to employment based on citizenship status or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend Rustic Inn for its cooperation throughout this investigation and its commitment to ensure compliance with the law.”
The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, 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; and retaliation and intimidation.
For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, 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); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship/immigration status or national origin, or discrimination based on their citizenship/immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.