DOJ Settles Document Abuse Claim with California Company

On November 4, 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an agreement with Rehrig Pacific Company (Rehrig Pacific) to resolve allegations that Rehrig Pacific had discriminated against an individual based on his citizenship status.

Rehrig Pacific is a transport packing company headquartered in California. DOJ alleged that Rehrig Pacific improperly prevented an employee from proffering a document of his choosing to evince continued work authorization. The DOJ's investigation determined that during Rehrig's process of assessing the employee's continued permission to work, the company directed him to produce a new document from the Department of Homeland Security to the exclusion of other documents contained in the List of Acceptable Documents.

Per the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers are prohibited from specifying or limiting the types of documentation an employee may produce in proving their permission to work or identity; the choice of document always remains with the employee.

Per the terms of the settlement, Rehrig Pacific will remit civil penalties to the U.S., train all employees involved in verifying workers' permission to work and will be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

Employers are encouraged to review internal protocols and policies regarding continued permission to work verifications to ensure compliance with applicable laws.

Posted: November 8, 2021

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