The U.S. Department of Justice settled a lawsuit with McDonald’s after employees tipped off the government that the restaurant chain was discriminating against immigrant employees.
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices found that McDonald’s has allegedly long required that permanent residents present new resident cards—commonly referred to as a Green Card—when their original documents on file expire, despite the fact that this practice is illegal. U.S. citizens were not required to update their expired documents. In some cases permanent residents who couldn’t provide a new card were barred from working, which resulted in job loss. The settlement does not address practices at individual franchise locations.
Per the settlement, McDonald’s will pay $355,000 in civil penalties, train employees to follow the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision and pay restitution to permanent residents who worked for a corporate-owned McDonald’s location between September 23, 2012, and March 1, 2015. People who quality for back wages can file a claim here. The chain will also be monitored for 20 months to ensure compliance.
“Employers cannot hold lawful permanent residents to a higher standard by placing additional documentary burdens upon them during the employment eligibility verification process,” principal deputy assistant attorney general Vanita Gupta said in a statement. “Requiring unnecessary documentation of individuals based on their citizenship or immigration status is discriminatory, and the Department of Justice will not hesitate to enforce the law and protect the rights of work-authorized immigrants.”