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News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. June 28, 2011: The U.S. Justice Department has slapped a lawsuit on a Kansas City company, alleging it engaged in immigration-related employment discrimination.

Farmland Foods Inc., a major producer of pork products in the United States, is accused by the DOJ of engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary documentary requirements on non-U.S. citizens when establishing their authority to work in the United States.

Farmland Foods, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

The department says it investigation revealed that Farmland required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens and some foreign-born U.S. citizens at its Monmouth plant in Illinois to present specific and, in some cases, extra work authorization documents beyond those required by federal law.

The Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner during the hiring process, regardless of their citizenship status. Farmland imposed different and greater requirements on non-U.S. citizens and foreign-born U.S. citizens as compared to applicants who were native-born U.S. citizens.

“Employers may not treat authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”

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