The Department of Justice has announced a record anti-discrimination settlement agreement of $290,400 with Farmland Foods, Inc. to resolve allegations that the company engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination during the I-9 process. According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), Farmland required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens and some foreign-born U.S. citizens to present specific and, in many cases, extra work-authorization documents; a clear violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

When employers think about I-9 rules, most focus solely on making sure that the form is completed properly, original documents are reviewed, and everything is retained for the right amount of time in order to avoid potential issues and fines by ICE. However, employers should also be aware of “document abuse” which includes improperly requesting that employees produce more documents than are required by Form I-9 to establish the employee’s identity and employment authorization.

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