April 01, 2013

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Georgia Company to Resolve Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices

The Justice Department recently announcethat it reached an agreement with Poulan Pecan, resolving allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Poulan Pecan is a supplier of pecans located in Poulan, Ga.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division initiated its investigation of Poulan Pecan in 2012, based on a claim by an individual who called a department hotline and complained that the pecan-producing company requested specific documentation from her to establish her work authorization. The department’s investigation concluded that Poulan Pecan discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens by requiring specific and more documents than necessary from them when completing the Form I-9, Employ ment Eligibility Verification, while not imposing similar requirements of U.S. citizens.

Under the terms of the agreement, Poulan Pecan will pay $500 in civil penalties and be subject to monitoring of its employ ment eligibility verification practices for a period of one y ear. Designated Poulan Pecan officials have already completed training by the Justice Department on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The case settled prior to the Justice Department filing a complaint in this matter.

“Individuals should be treated equally during the employ ment eligibility verification process,” saidG regory Friel, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This means not placing additional requirements, documentary or otherwise, on individuals based on their citizenship status.”

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employ ment Practices (OSC) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the immigration laws, call the OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7 688 (1-800-237 -2525, TDD for hearing impaired), call the OSC’s employ er hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-362-27 35, TDD for hearing impaired), sign up for a no-cost webinar at www.justice.gov/about/osc/webinars.php , email osccrt@usdoj.gov or visit the website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc .