U.S. settles with Washington food processing facility after discrimination allegations

By Mark Iandolo | May 22, 2017

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced May 21 that Washington Potato Company and Pasco Processing LLC has agreed to pay $225,750 and change its business practices to settle allegations of discriminating against lawful permanent residents in their hiring practices.  

The defendants operate a fruit and vegetable processing facility in Pasco. According to allegations, the defendants routinely asked lawful permanent residents hired at the facility to produce a specific document – a permanent resident card – to prove their work authorization. 

The defendants allegedly never requested any specific documents from U.S. citizens who were hired. According to the department, Washington Potato directed and controlled Pasco Processing’s hiring practices. Alleged conduct of this nature violates the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which bars unfair documentary requests based on citizenship status or national origin.

“The Justice Department is committed to removing illegal barriers to employment based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin,” said acting assistant attorney general Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We look forward to working with Pasco Processing and Washington Potato Company to fulfill the terms of this agreement.”

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