By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement agreement with United General Bakery Inc. a/k/a Upper Crust Bakery, a baked goods supplier located in Phoenix, Arizona. The settlement resolves the IER’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against authorized workers based on their citizenship status in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when verifying their authorization to work.

The investigation concluded Upper Crust Bakery discriminated against non-U.S. citizen workers by requiring them to present unnecessary and specific immigration documents to prove their work authorization at both initial hire and reverification, even when the workers had other valid, legally acceptable documents proving they were authorized to work in the United States. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from making unnecessary requests for documentation to prove work authorization based on a worker’s citizenship status or national origin.

Under the settlement, Upper Crust Bakery will pay $45,000 in civil penalties to the United States, shall revise and/or create employment policies to prohibit citizenship or immigration status, train its human resources personnel on the requirements of the INA’s antidiscrimination provision through attendance at an IER webinar, post IER’s poster – “If You Have the Right to Work”, and be subject to compliance monitoring by IER for two years.

Employers should be cognizant of the fact that it is illegal to require non-U.S. citizen workers to present unnecessary and specific immigration documents to prove their work authorization at both initial hire and reverification. This is a common problem for many employers in completing I-9 forms.

If you want to know more information on issues of citizenship status discrimination and employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.