McDonald’s Will Pay $355K To Settle Claims That It Discriminated Against Immigrant Workers

McDonald’s has agreed to pay $355,000 in civil penalties as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, to resolve claims that the company discriminated against legal immigrants in the workplace.

Along with the cash payment, McDonald’s crop will undergo 20 months of monitoring and train its employees. The case only involves actions by McDonald’s, and not its franchises, the DOJ said.

“The settlement agreement also requires McDonald’s to compensate lawful permanent resident employees of McDonald’s-owned restaurants who lost work or lost their jobs due to these documentary practices,” the department noted.

The investigation into McDonald’s was spurred by information provided on the department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices worker hotline. The department found that McDonald’s was requiring lawful permanent residents to show a new permanent resident card — a “Green Card” — when their original document expired.

Some of the permanent residents who couldn’t provide a new card when it was requested weren’t allowed to work, or lost their jobs, the DOJ said.

Showing such documentation again is not required by law, and investigators found that the Golden Arches didn’t enforce a similar police for its U.S. citizen employees.

“Employers cannot hold lawful permanent residents to a higher standard by placing additional documentary burdens upon them during the employment eligibility verification process,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “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. We commend McDonald’s for its cooperation throughout this investigation and for committing to compensate its current and former employees who lost wages due to these practices.”

McDonald’s addressed the settlement in a statement, saying it values “diversity of thought, background and culture”: “We deny any wrongdoing in this matter, but in order to avoid further expense, and … to cooperate with the Office of Special Counsel, we reached a settlement.”

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