A long-running lawsuit between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Rose Acre Farms Inc. over unfair immigration-related employment practices was resolved on Aug. 6 after a settlement was reached.
The DOJ had accused the Indiana-based farm, the second largest egg producer in the nation, of violating the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against non-U.S. citizens who were work-authorized.
The complaint filed back on Nov. 7, 2012, alleged that between the periods of June 2009 and Dec. 22, 2011, the egg-producing company had “routinely required” their work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present a Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document to prove their eligibility.
But they did not have the same requirements for U.S. citizens.
According to the DOJ, all work-authorized individuals, including those who are U.S. citizens and those who are not, all have the right to choose which documentation to present, in order to prove their validity to work.
“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,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
The anti-discrimination provision of the INA stops employers from letting employees go through “unnecessary documentary demands” based on factors such as their citizenship or nationality.
According to the agreement, Rose Acre will pay a civil penalty of $70,000 and train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. They must also allow their company to be monitored for two years.
The settlement also states that the farming company “shall not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or retaliate against any person,” as a result of the decision.
In April, the company had to recall more than 200 million of their eggs due to salmonella fears. At the time about 22 illnesses were reported in connection with their eggs.