Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Monday, June 27, 2016

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Seed Company

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Crookham Company to resolve the department’s allegations that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  Crookham, which is based in Caldwell, Idaho, is a seed company that produces hybrid sweet corn, popcorn and onions.

The department’s investigation found that Crookham discriminated against non-U.S. citizens by requiring them to produce either a permanent resident card or employment authorization card to prove their work authorization, whereas U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whichever valid documentation they wanted to present to prove their work authorization.  Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, can choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the lists of acceptable documents to prove their work authorization.  It is unlawful for an employer to limit employees’ choice of documentation because of their citizenship or immigration status.

“We commend Crookham Company for its cooperation throughout the investigation and for its quick action to remove any unnecessary and unlawful barriers to employment for work-authorized non-citizens,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanity Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The company’s approach and this settlement serve as a model for partnerships between the Justice Department and employers who want to do the right thing.”

Under the settlement agreement, Crookham will pay $200,000 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to monitoring for a three-year period.  Prior to the settlement, Crookham proactively underwent department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and voluntarily implemented other measures to ensure future compliance.

The Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; document abuse; retaliation and intimidation.  The investigation was handled by Senior Equal Opportunity Specialist Alexandra A. Vince of OSC.

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, should contact the worker hotline above for assistance.

Crookham Company Settlement Agreement

Civil Rights
Labor & Employment
Press Release Number: 
Updated April 27, 2017