By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), within the Justice Department, has reached an agreement with Culinaire International, a Texas-based catering and restaurant management company, resolving a claim that Culinaire engaged in citizenship discrimination during the employment eligibility re-verification process in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation found Culinaire required lawful permanent resident (LPR) employees to produce a new Permanent Resident Card when their prior card expired, even though the INA prohibits such conduct. LPRs have permanent work authorization in the United States, even after their permanent resident cards expire.

Under the settlement agreement, Culinaire will establish a $40,000 back pay fund to compensate potential economic victims; pay $20,460 in civil penalties to the United States; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; revise its employment eligibility re-verification policies; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for 20 months.

This error by Culinaire is a fairly common error made by employers, who believe they must re-verify an LPR card because an employee’s Employment Authorization document (EAD) must be re-verified at the time of its expiration. However, under the law, the expiration of an LPR card is treated differently than the expiration of an EAD card.

A copy of the settlement agreement, when it becomes available, can be viewed here.