Abercrombie Agrees To Pay for Immigration-Related Discrimination

Plus two years of federal monitoring 

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Following a Supreme Court decision earlier this month that Abercrombie & Fitch may have discriminated against a Muslim job applicant because she wore head scarf, the retailer on Thursday reached a settlement agreement with the Justice Department to settle a separate discrimination charge.

According to a Justice Department statement, the agency said the Columbus, Ohio-based clothing retailer agreed to pay more than $158,000 and be monitored for two years over charges that it discriminated against a non-U.S. citizen when it required her to present a green card.

“The department’s investigation found that Abercrombie required a non-U.S. citizen, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to produce specific documentary proof of her immigration status for the purpose of verifying her employment eligibility,” according to the statement. “The [Immigration and Nationality Act]’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making specific documentary demands based on citizenship status or national origin when verifying an employee’s employment eligibility.”

The settlement calls for Abercrombie to pay the woman $3,661 in back pay and interest, establish a $153,932 fund to compensate others who may have faced similar discrimination and pay a $1,100 civil fine.

“The division is committed to identifying and tearing down illegal barriers that prevent authorized workers from working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division commends Abercrombie for working with the division to resolve this matter expeditiously.”

Abercrombie was accused of violating the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act by requiring the complainant to provide written proof of her immigration status to verify her employment eligibility, though it did not require such proof from U.S. citizens.

Abercrombie has not issued a comment in response to the settlement agreement.

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