January 08, 2013

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with South Carolina Food Company for Alleged Anti-Discrimination Violations

The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with Centerplate Inc., resolving allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Centerplate, based in Spartanburg, S.C., is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. With over 10,000 employ ees nationwide, Centerplate provides food serv ice to over 25 0 stadiums, convention centers and entertainment venues across the country.

The Justice Department’s investigation was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under a memorandum of agreement between the Civil Rights Division and USCIS. The department’s investigation concluded that, for at least the past three y ears, Centerplate engaged in a pattern or practice of treating work-eligible non-U.S. citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the INA’s employ ment eligibility verification processes, including E-Verify , by requiring specific documents issued by the Department of Homeland Sec urity from non-U.S. citizens, while not making similar requests of U.S. citizens.

Under the terms of the agreement, Centerplate has agreed to pay $25 0,000 in civil penalties, the third highest amount paid through settlement since enactment of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision in 1986. Centerplate has also agreed to fully compensate any victims who lost wages as a result of Centerplate’s practices, undergo Justice Department training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and be subject to monitoring of its employ ment eligibility verification practices for a period of three years. The case settled prior to the Justice Department filing a complaint in this matter.

“Work-eligible applicants – citizens and non-citizens alike – deserve fair and equal treatment in the eligibility verification process,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Therefore, we will continue to vigorously enforce the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.”

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment 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 1-800-25 5-7 688 (1-800-237 -25 25 , TDD for hearing impaired), call the OSC’s employ er hotline at 1-800-25 5-8155 (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 .