By Bruce Buchanan

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), within the Justice Department, has reached a settlement with La Farine Bakery, a small french bakery chain with locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The settlement resolves allegations that La Farine violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by improperly rejecting a worker’s valid work authorization documents because of the worker’s citizenship status.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) anti-discrimination provision specifically 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.

As part of the settlement, La Farine Bakery will pay $30,300 to be divided in the following manner:

- $19,000 in front and back pay to the plaintiff, less deductions and withholdings;
- $7,200 in non-wage damages to the plaintiff;
- $3,800 to the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco for attorney fees;
- $300 civil penalty to the United States.

The bakery has also agreed to change its hiring policies and be subject to monitoring of its hiring practices for the next two (2) years and will be required to do the following:

1) Revise its employment policies as they relate to nondiscrimination and provide them for review and approval by OSC within thirty (30) days of the effective date of the settlement agreement;

2) Advise OSC of any changes in the company’s employment policies as they relate to nondiscrimination on the basis of citizenship status and national origin at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of such revised policies;

3) Send all current human resources personnel, and all new human resources personnel to attend a compliance training webinar hosted by the OSC; and

4) Send OSC copies of completed Forms I-9, including attachments -- every four months -- for all employees hired during that period.

A copy of the La Farine settlement agreement can be viewed here.