As a small or midsize business owner, it is crucial to be aware of the potential penalties for violating employment laws. A recent settlement agreement between the Justice Department and Treacy Enterprises Inc., a Maryland-based Domino’s Pizza franchisee, serves as a reminder that employers must adhere to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and avoid discriminatory practices.
In this article, we explore the details of the settlement and highlight the importance of compliance with immigration-related employment laws to protect your business from legal consequences.
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The Discrimination Case
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced a settlement agreement with Treacy Enterprises, which owns and operates multiple Domino’s Pizza franchises. The settlement resolves the department’s determination that Treacy Enterprises violated the INA by imposing excessive documentation requirements on a non-U.S. citizen worker, even though he had already provided sufficient documentation to prove his permission to work.
Ensuring Non-Discrimination in the Hiring Process
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke emphasized that employers cannot demand unnecessary documents or discriminate against individuals based on their citizenship status or national origin during the employment verification process. While employers have the responsibility to verify new hires’ permission to work, they must respect the rights of individuals and accept valid documentation already presented.
The Investigation and Violations
The Justice Department’s investigation was triggered by a complaint from a lawful permanent resident worker who alleged that Treacy Enterprises demanded additional and unnecessary documentation to prove his permission to work, disregarding the valid documents he had already provided.
The department concluded that Treacy Enterprises violated the INA by demanding additional proof and requiring the worker to show a Permanent Resident Card (green card) to prove his citizenship status. Federal law allows workers to choose which legally acceptable documentation to present for identity verification and work authorization, regardless of their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.
Settlement Terms and Compliance Requirements
Under the settlement, Treacy Enterprises will pay a civil penalty to the United States. Additionally, the agreement mandates that the company train its human resources staff on the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies, and be subject to monitoring and reporting by the Justice Department. These measures aim to ensure compliance with immigration-related employment laws and prevent future discrimination.
Importance of Compliance
As a business owner, it is crucial to understand and comply with immigration-related employment laws. The INA prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in various employment practices, including hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee.
Employers must avoid unfair documentary practices, retaliation, and intimidation. By upholding these laws, you can protect your business from legal consequences and foster a fair and inclusive work environment.
The settlement between the Justice Department and Treacy Enterprises serves as a valuable lesson for small and midsize business owners, highlighting the need to comply with immigration-related employment laws. It is essential to verify work authorization without discrimination and refrain from imposing unnecessary documentation requirements.
By understanding and adhering to these laws, you can protect your business from penalties, maintain a positive reputation, and create an inclusive workplace that values employees regardless of their citizenship status or national origin.