Pizzeria To Pay Hefty Sum For Trying Too Hard to Verify Immigration Status Of New Hires

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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A Florida pizzeria agreed to pay a hefty court sum for asking immigrants to provide a specific document proving their legal status, in a settlement with the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Pizzerias LLC will pay the government $140,000 to resolve the dispute over the way the chain tried to verify whether potential hires have legal residence in the United States. The Justice Department was investigating whether the chain violated a federal law prohibiting employers from making unnecessary demands for documents from people based on citizenship.

The franchise, with more than 30 locations in Miami, was accused of routinely asking lawful permanent residents for a Permanent Resident Card to prove their work authorization, although they often have access to the same documents a U.S. citizen would provide to prove work authorization. Federal investigators found the demand for a Permanent Resident Card possibly constituted an illegal hurdle for the immigrants, in violation of an anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Justice Department concluded there is “reasonable cause to believe that [Pizzerias] engaged in a pattern or practice of unfair documentary practices,” the settlement agreement states.

The agency said in a statement it’s committed to ensuring lawful U.S. workers are “free from discriminatory barriers” because of their national origin, citizenship or immigration status. “Pizzerias’ responsiveness throughout the course of the investigation assisted in a speedy resolution of this matter,” the statement adds.

Pizzerias has agreed to pay the sum in four installments of $35,000 on or before August 27, 2018. The franchise also agreed to post notices informing employees of their rights under the INA anti-discrimination law, to train their human resources staff, and to agree to new monitoring and reporting requirements.

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