The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement agreement with Arizona-based company Upper Crust Bakery over a suit involving immigration status discrimination.
Upper Crust Bakery, which provides baked goods for companies like Starbucks, Cotsco and Kroger’s discriminated against certain employees by requiring them to provide specific immigration documents to prove they were authorized to work. These documents were unnecessary and specific. Therefore the action was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which contains most provisions of immigration law in the U.S. and prevents unfair immigration-related employment practices and other forms of discrimination.
The Form I-9 prospective employees are required to fill out upon their hiring requires employees to either provide one identification document from the “A” list, or one from the “B” list and one from the “C” list. Items on the “A” list include a U.S. Passport or Permanent Resident Card, among others. The “B” list provides 10 approved items, including a U.S. state driver’s license and Native American tribal document. The “C” list includes items such as a Social Security card and employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
The I-9 document specifically notes an employer may not dictate which documents an employee chooses to submit.
The DOJ determined the bakery was in violation of the INA, engaging in a pattern of unfair documentary practices against employees on the grounds of their citizenship. The document says the bakery required noncitizen employees to provide a Department of Homeland Security-issued employment eligibility document (a “C”-list item) and rejected other documents listed as acceptable on the I-9 list. They also allowed citizens to provide only identification documents and Social Security cards (“B”-list items) without requiring other documents necessary to prove employment verification.
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Under the DOJ settlement, Upper Crust Bakery will pay $45,000, provide training for its human resources department on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and be subject to compliance monitoring by the DOJ for the next two years.
Recently Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry suppliers in the world settled a class employment discrimination lawsuit for $3,750 million for sexual harassment, national origin and race discrimination as well as retaliation. The plant was also one of the subjects of the largest single-state worksite immigration raid in the country.
Foreign-born people make up a significant chunk of the U.S. labor force. In 2018, there were 28.2 million documented foreign-born people in the labor force, 17.4% of the total, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.