The U.S. Department of Justice announced that on Friday it reached a settlement agreement with United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI: Quote), resolving allegations that the company discriminated under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when it impermissibly "reverified" the work authority of lawful permanent residents and required some non-citizen workers to provide specific Form I-9 documentation.
In a charge filed with the department, the charging party, a lawful permanent resident, alleged that UNFI improperly terminated him after he failed to produce an unexpired lawful permanent resident card (also known as a "green card") in connection with an erroneous reverification of his employment eligibility.
The Department said the charging party had presented proper work authorization documentation at the time of hire, and UNFI had no reason to suspect that his documentation was not genuine.
In response to the department's investigation, UNFI conducted an internal audit and undertook immediate corrective action to address and rectify its employment eligibility verification policies and practices. As part of its corrective action, UNFI rehired the charging party and gave him full back pay several months before the department had made its finding of discrimination.
As per the settlement agreement, the company agrees to pay $3,190 in civil penalties to the United States, to conform all of its actions to ensure compliance with the INA's anti-discrimination provision and to train its human resources personnel about the company's responsibility to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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