Photo: Rose Acre Farms Sued for Discrimination against Non-Citizens
The Justice Department announced today filing of a lawsuit against Rose Acre Farms Inc., a major U.S. egg producer based in Seymour, Ind., alleging that Rose Acre engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against work-authorized non-citizens in the employment eligibility verification process. Rose Acre operates in more than 40 locations in six states.
The complaint alleges that Rose Acre had a standard practice of subjecting newly hired non-U.S. citizens to unauthorized demands for more, different or specific documents issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in order to verify their employment eligibility, while U.S. citizens were permitted to present their choice of documentation. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.
According to the complaint, Rose Acre purchased an electronic employment eligibility verification software system in June 2009 that may have prompted human resource officials to demand certain documents from non-U.S. citizens. The complaint seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by Rose Acre, changes in Rose Acre’s policies and procedures for verifying employment eligibility, monetary damages for those harmed by the Rose Acre’s actions, and civil penalties.
“The INA’s anti-discrimination provision requires employers to treat employees equally in the employment eligibility verification process, regardless of citizenship status or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The department is committed to removing discriminatory hurdles to employment through the enforcement of the anti-discrimination provision.”