Washington, DC - The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with Rose Acre Farms Inc. (Rose Acre), which is based in Indiana and is one of the largest egg producers in the United States. The settlement resolves a long-standing lawsuit filed by the Justice Department alleging that Rose Acre violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization.
The Department’s amended complaint, filed on November 7, 2012, alleged that from at least June 2009 to December 22, 2011, Rose Acre routinely required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present a Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document to prove their work authorization, but did not require specific documents from U.S. citizens. All work-authorized individuals, whether U.S. citizens or non-U.S. citizens, have the right to choose which valid documentation to present to prove they are authorized to work. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship or national origin.
“The INA makes clear that when employers verify the identity and work authorization of employees, they must not treat employees differently based on their citizenship or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “This case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to ensuring that employers implement the employment eligibility verification process in a manner that is non-discriminatory.”
Under the settlement, Rose Acre will pay a civil penalty of $70,000; train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision; and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.
The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the antidiscrimination 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.