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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination Claim Against a Restaurant Management Company

The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with Culinaire International, a catering and restaurant management company headquartered in Houston, Texas, resolving a claim that Culinaire engaged in citizenship discrimination during the employment eligibility reverification process in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).


The Justice Department’s investigation found that Culinaire required lawful permanent resident employees to produce a new Permanent Resident Card when their prior card expired, even though the Form I-9 and E-Verify rules prohibit this practice. Lawful permanent residents have permanent work authorization in the United States, even after their permanent resident cards expire. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status.


“Employers cannot discriminate against workers by requiring them to produce more documents than necessary in the employment eligibility verification and reverification processes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division. “The department applauds Culinaire’s willingness to resolve this matter expeditiously and its commitment to changing its past documentary practices.”


Under the settlement agreement, Culinaire will pay $20,460 in civil penalties to the United States; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; establish a $40,000 back pay fund to compensate potential economic victims; revise its employment eligibility reverification policies; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for 20 months.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) within the Justice Department 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.


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.

Updated August 28, 2015