Rug manufacturer settles with DOJ

Michael P. Tremoglie Jan. 3, 2012, 7:18am

DALTON, Ga. (Legal Newsline) - The Justice Department announced a settlement with Garland Sales Inc., a Georgia rug manufacturer, involving allegations that it required unnecessary documentation for workers of Hispanic origin.

Garland has agreed to pay $10,000 in back pay and civil penalties and will also undergo training on proper employment eligibility verification practices.

The DOJ also charged the manufacturer with retaliating against a worker for protesting the treatment.

According to the announcement, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Hispanic descent applied for a job with Garland in May 2009. He presented his unexpired driver's license and an unrestricted Social Security card when hired.

Garland demanded that the he provide his "green card," the DOJ charged.

The company made further requests for documents and when the worker objected to the company's demands, the company rescinded the job offer.

The worker, along with another individual who was denied employment with Garland when the company rejected the individual's valid documentation, will receive full back pay of the $10,000 settlement.

DOJ's complaint also alleged that the company routinely required newly hired foreign-born U.S. citizens to present documentation beyond that required by federal law. Federal law requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner during the hiring process, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices, which is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, investigated the case.

This office protects "work authorized individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin discrimination, including discrimination in hiring and the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process," the DOJ stated in its Dec. 30 announcement.

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