- Pennsylvania-based grocery store chain Giant Food settled U.S. Department of Justice allegations that it discriminated against non-U.S. citizen workers when checking their eligibility to work in the United States, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The company will pay a civil penalty of $11,000.
- The DOJ began investigating the store after a non-U.S. citizen applicant complained that it required her to supply specific documents, even though she supplied other, valid documentation. Specifically, the DOJ said, the investigation found that Giant routinely required non-U.S. citizens to show their green cards, despite federal law allowing other documents instead.
- “The GIANT Company is pleased to have resolved this matter,” the company said in a statement to HR Dive, adding that the Giant Co. is committed to nondiscrimination.
As the DOJ explained in its press release, the Immigration and Nationality Act allows workers to present any documentation from a list of acceptable options to show their permission to work, regardless of citizenship status.
Employment eligibility and citizenship status information is collected via Form I-9, the instructions of which say that employees may submit any documentation from its List of Acceptable Documents. This includes one document from List A, which establishes both identity and employment authorization, or a combination of documents from List B, which establishes identity, and List C, which establishes employment authorization.
Employers discriminate against applicants not only by refusing to hire certain workers, but also by requiring specific documents, to the exclusion of others that also are valid, according to DOJ.
“Under the law that the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) enforces, employers are not allowed to request more or different documents than are required to establish a worker’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States, request a specific document or reject documents that appear to be reasonably genuine on their face based on a worker’s citizenship status or national origin,” the agency noted in an informational page on Form I-9.
In addition, employers can comply with the form’s requirements by collecting it promptly after an offer has been made and accepted, and by accepting documentation that appears genuine on its face, HR Dive previously reported.