June 29, 2016

Seed Co. To Pay $200K To Settle DOJ Immigrant Discrimination Claims

Crookham Company has agreed to pay $200,000 to resolve the Department of Justice’s charge that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Crookham, which is based in Caldwell, Idaho, is a seed company that produces hybrid sweet corn, popcorn and onions.

The department’s investigation found that Crookham discriminated against non-U.S. citizens by requiring them to produce either a permanent resident card or employment authorization card to prove their work authorization, whereas U.S. citizens were permitted to choose whichever valid documentation they wanted to present to prove their work authorization. Under the INA, all workers, including non-U.S. citizens, can choose whichever valid documentation they would like to present from the lists of acceptable documents to prove their work authorization. It is unlawful for an employer to limit employees’ choice of documentation because of their citizenship or immigration status.

“We commend Crookham Company for its cooperation throughout the investigation and for its quick action to remove any unnecessary and unlawful barriers to employment for work-authorized non-citizens,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanity Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The company’s approach and this settlement serve as a model for partnerships between the Justice Department and employers who want to do the right thing.”

Under the settlement agreement, Crookham will pay $200,000 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to monitoring for a three-year period. Prior to the settlement, Crookham proactively underwent department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and voluntarily implemented other measures to ensure future compliance.

Seed Co. To Pay $200KBadmus advisory: Employers must never ask new hires for a specific document to prove work authorization. To avoid what could be a very expensive mistake, companies need to properly train managers and any employees who are charged with completing I-9 forms. For affordable training options, you are invited to call me at 214-472-2161.