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Taco Bell Franchise Owner Settles With DOJ On Immigration-related Discrimination

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The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a settlement agreement with a Texas-based Taco Bell franchise owner for immigration-related discrimination against certain employees.

The settlement resolves the DOJ's investigation into whether MUY Brands LLC, and a related management company, MUY Consulting Inc., violated the Immigration and Nationality Act or INA by discriminating against lawful permanent residents in the U.S. because of their citizenship status.

MUV Brands is a San Antonio, Texas-based owner and operator of about 78 Taco Bell restaurant franchises in six states.

The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than are required to prove work authorization based on employees' citizenship status or national origin.

The DOJ said its investigation concluded that from at least July 2015 to March 2017, MUY Brands and MUY Consulting required specific work authorization documents from all lawful permanent residents, or "green card" holders, who worked at their Taco Bell restaurants.

However, the companies did not impose a similar requirement on employees who are U.S. citizens.

As a result of the discrimination, some of these lawful permanent residents lost work opportunities despite providing sufficient documentation to prove their authorization to work.

"Employers cannot require that a worker provide more or different documents than necessary to legally prove work authorization based on the worker's citizenship status or national origin," said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.

Under the settlement with the DOJ, the companies will pay a civil penalty of $175,000 and create a $50,000 backpay fund to pay the affected workers. They will also be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

In addition, certain employees of the companies will be required to attend training under the INA's anti-discrimination provision.

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