The federal government recently reached a settlement agreement in a discrimination lawsuit with Washington Potato Company and Pasco Processing LLC, which operate a Pasco fruit and vegetable processing facility.
The U.S. Justice Department filed the lawsuit against the companies on Nov. 14, 2016, alleging that from at least Nov. 1, 2013, until at least Oct. 16, 2016, the companies routinely requested that lawful permanent residents hired at Pasco Processing produce a specific document – a permanent resident card – to prove their work authorization, while not requesting a specific document from U.S. citizens.
The department’s complaint alleged that Washington Potato directed and controlled Pasco Processing’s hiring practices, including the discriminatory documentary practices at issue. The antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, prohibits such unfair documentary requests when based on citizenship status or national origin.
Under the agreement, Washington Potato Company and Pasco Processing are required to pay civil penalties of $225,750, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s antidiscrimination provision, train their human resources personnel on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
The division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, 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.
The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.
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