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Poultry Processor Accused of Employment Discrimination

by 5m Editor
18 July 2011, at 10:40am

US – The US Justice Department last week filed a lawsuit against Mar-Jac Poultry Inc., a poultry processing plant in Gainesville, Georgia, alleging that Mar-Jac requires all newly hired non-US citizens to present documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security in order to secure their jobs.

However, the DOJ claims the company does not require US citizens to show any specific documentation.

The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA’s) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional burdens on work-authorised employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.

The department’s investigation revealed that Mar-Jac engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory documentary conduct against non-US citizens by requiring them to produce specific documents during the Form I-9 process.

The non-US citizens subjected to the practice were determined to be work authorised by E-Verify, the Department of Homeland Security’s Internet-based employment eligibility verification system.

“Employers are not allowed to impose more burdensome employment eligibility verification procedures on certain workers based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division.

“The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA, including those protecting employees from discriminatory documentary requirements.”

The lawsuit charging Mar-Jac with discriminatory practices was filed before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, another component of the Department of Justice.