Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 23, 2015

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Sunny Grove Landscaping & Nursery Inc.

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Sunny Grove  Landscaping & Nursery Inc. (Sunny Grove), a landscaping company  in Ft. Myers, Florida.  The settlement resolves the department’s investigation of Sunny Grove for discrimination against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Under the settlement agreement, Sunny Grove will pay $7,500 in civil penalties to the United States and undergo department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  Sunny Grove will be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting work-authorized individuals from discriminatory practices in the employment eligibility verification process,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “We commend Sunny Grove for working cooperatively with the division to resolve this matter.”

The investigation found that Sunny Grove discriminated against lawful permanent residents by requiring them to produce permanent resident cards to prove their work authorization, whereas U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whatever valid documentation they wanted to prove their work authorization.  Lawful permanent residents do not have to show their permanent resident cards when they start working.  Like all workers, they can choose whatever valid documentation they want to establish their employment authorization, and many lawful permanent residents have the same work authorization documents as U.S. citizens. 

The 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.

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 OSC’s worker hotline for assistance.

Sunny Grove Settlement Agreement

15-1446
Updated November 23, 2015