Immigration Law

Texas Supermarket Chain Pays $43K to Settle I-9 Discrimination Case

"The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Mexico Foods LLC, aka El Rancho Corp., a supermarket chain based in Garland, Texas, resolving claims that the company engaged in discrimination during the employment eligibility verification process in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The department’s investigation was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The investigation revealed that El Rancho required lawful permanent residents to present a new employment eligibility document after being hired when their Permanent Resident cards expired, even though the Form I-9 and E-Verify rules prohibit this practice because lawful permanent residents have permanent work authorization in the United States, even after their Permanent Resident cards expire. The investigation also uncovered evidence that El Rancho routinely requested a specific work authority document from lawful permanent residents during the initial employment eligibility verification process even though under the law employees are allowed to choose what documents to present. The department found that El Rancho’s discriminatory practices were based on employees’ citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, El Rancho must pay $43,000 in civil penalties, undergo training on the antidiscrimination provision of the INA and submit to monitoring for a period of 18 months, during which the department may review the company’s employment eligibility verification practices." - DOJ, Apr. 24, 2014.