Nebraska Beef pays $200k penalty for unfair employment practices

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Nebraska Beef $200k penalty for unfair employment practices

Related tags Employment

The US Department of Justice has reached a $200k settlement with Nebraska Beef, meat processing and packaging company, based in Omaha, Nebraska, for unfair employment practices. 

The department’s investigation found the company asked non-US citizens, but not US citizens, to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify their employment eligibility. 

'Unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to employment'

The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from making documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin when verifying an employee’s authorization to work.

The department is committed to ensuring individuals who are authorized to work in the US can support their families and contribute to our country’s economic growth without facing unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to employment​,” said Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general, head of the Civil Rights Division. 

We will vigorously enforce the law to remove such barriers where we find them, and ensure affected individuals have a means of seeking relief​.”  

Two-year compliance monitoring

At a hearing on Monday (August 24) trial attorneys Katherine Lamm and Silvia Dominguez-Reese of the Civil Rights Division agreed Nebraska Beef will pay a $200k civil penalty to the US and will establish an uncapped back pay fund to compensate individuals who lost wages because of the company’s practices. 

The company will also take part in compliance monitoring for two years, train its employees on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and to review and revise its office policies. 

The settlement resolves an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel​ for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) into whether the company was engaging in employment discrimination in violation of INA. 

OSC investigated whether the company was requiring non-US citizen employees, because of their citizenship status, to present proof of their immigration status for the employment eligibility verification process.

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation. 

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee should contact OSC’s worker hotline for assistance.

Related topics Processing & Packaging


Damned if you do and damned if you don't

Posted by Bruce Hall,

Under federal law, it is illegal for any employer to engage with illegal immigrants in the following manner:

- Hiring illegal immigrants
- Recruiting illegal immigrants
- Referring illegal immigrants for work and receiving a fee
This also includes hiring contractors who use illegal immigrants. There are criminal and civil penalties associated with this conduct.

It is also illegal for employers to not verify work authorization. Three days after an employee is hired, employers should correctly complete an I-9. Failing to do so will subject employers to criminal and civil punishment.

So... if you ask for proof, you are in violation of one law, but if you don't verify, you are in violation of another law. George Orwell would be proud.

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Posted by DPBF,

So, how is it Nebraska Beef gets a $200,000 slap on the wrist while Rabbi Sholom Rubashkin, a father of 10, was sentenced to decades in prison for similar offenses?

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