The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Labor Practices, which is within the Department of Justice, has reached an agreement with Centerplate Inc., a large hospitality company based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, resolving allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The investigation was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The investigation concluded that, for at least the past three years, Centerplate engaged in a pattern or practice of treating work-eligible non-U.S. citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the INAs employment eligibility verification processes, including E-Verify, by requiring specific documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security from non-U.S. citizens, while not making similar requests of U.S. citizens.
Under the terms of the agreement, Centerplate has agreed to pay $250,000 in civil penalties, the third highest amount paid through settlement since enactment of the INAs anti-discrimination
provision in 1986. Centerplate has also agreed to fully compensate any victims who lost wages as a result of Centerplates practices, undergo Justice Department training on the anti-discrimination
provision of the INA, and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for a period of three years.
This settlement demonstrates OSC continues to vigorously investigate companies for violations of the INA and is upping the ante on the amount of the fines.
Bruce E. Buchanan is an attorney at the at Nashville Office of Siskind Susser, P.C. He represents individuals and employers in all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on immigration compliance for employers, and employment/labor law. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. degree from Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Buchanan has been in private practice since 2003. Beforehand, he served as Senior Trial Specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. He also served from 1991 to 2003 as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught courses in Labor Law and Employment Law. Mr. Buchanan was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Immigration Law Section from 2011 to 2012 and has been the editor of the TBA's Immigration Law Section Newsletter and the TBA's Labor and Employment Law Section Newsletter since 2009. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration compliance as well as labor law, wage & hour law and proposed federal legislation. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as the Advocacy Liaison of the Mid-South Chapter of AILA. Mr. Buchanan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) and is an associate member of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.