On June 19, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the filing of a lawsuit against Rose Acre Farms, Inc., an Indiana-based egg producer with more than 40 locations in six states, alleging that the company engaged in discriminatory practices against work-authorized non-citizens during the employment eligibility verification process by requiring newly hired non-U.S. citizens to present additional, specific, and/or different documents to verify their employment eligibility. The anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from committing document abuse during the employment eligibility verification process based on employees’ citizenship status or national origin. Instead, employees must be permitted to present a choice of documents from the approved list of acceptable documents found with the Form I-9.
The complaint alleges that the company purchased nowHIRE, an electronic Form I-9 employment eligibility verification system, that may have caused human resources personnel to request specific documents from non-U.S. citizens. The complaint seeks a court order to prevent future discrimination by the company, as well as changes in the company’s employment eligibility verification policies, monetary damages for affected employees, and civil penalties.