Government Settles Lawsuit Against California Bakery Over Discrimination Against Foreign-Born Worker

On November 25, 2014, the Justice Department announced that it reached a settlement with La Farine Bakery, a bakery with two stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The settlement resolves allegations that the bakery violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by engaging in discriminatory documentary practices.  Specifically, the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) found that La Farine improperly rejected a worker’s valid work authorization documents because of the worker’s citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, La Farine Bakery will pay $26,000 in back pay and other compensation to an individual who was allegedly harmed by the discriminatory.  The bakery also agreed to change its hiring policies and be subject to monitoring of its hiring practices for two years.

“Employers should not make assumptions about the validity of their workers’ employment documents based on sterotypes or unfounded assumptions,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “The department encourages employers to use the Civil Rights Division’s resources, including OSC’s hotline, if they have questions about accepting Form I-9 documentation in a non-discriminatory manner.”

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The statute prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized applicants or employees during the employment eligibility verification process because of their citizenship status or national origin.  The statute also prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, as well as retaliation and intimidation.

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