The Justice Department reached an agreement with Walmart Inc. after claims were made that a Walmart store in Fort Worth violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by unlawfully requesting specific work authorization documents from non-U.S. citizens based on their citizenship status.
An investigation was sparked after a lawful permanent resident alleged that the Walmart store at 2900 Renaissance Square fired her on her first day of work because she couldn’t fulfill a human resources request for a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security. She had already provided other documents that were sufficient enough to establish her work authorization, the Justice Department said Monday.
When the woman protested her firing, a regional supervisor and hiring staff member at another nearby store incorrectly reaffirmed the unnecessary request for a DHS-issued document.
The investigation found that the human resources employee had a practice of requesting unnecessary DHS documents from non-U.S. citizens to establish their work authorization because of their citizenship status, the department said. The settlement agreement says the employee acted that way from at least December 2016 to October 2017, when the complainant filed her case.
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“The INA prohibits employers from rejecting valid work authorization documents, limiting workers’ choice of documentation to present for employment verification, and subjecting workers to different or unnecessary documentary demands, based on the workers’ citizenship, immigration status, or national origin,” the department said.
After the investigation, Walmart paid the woman $1,944 in back pay and reinstated her employment, but denied in the agreement that they had discriminated against the woman.
Under the terms of the settlement, Walmart will pay a civil penalty to the United States, train staff in Fort Worth-area stores, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements, the department said.
“Employers should not ask employees for unnecessary work-authorization documents because of their citizenship or immigration status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “We are pleased that Walmart has agreed to work with the Department and to provide additional training to relevant employees.”
Walmart released a statement Monday night saying, “We take compliance with immigration laws seriously and we have policies and procedures in place to help ensure we follow them. This was an isolated incident related to one stores’ mistake processing work authorization forms, and we are pleased to have resolved this with the Department of Justice for $1,000. We have apologized to our associate, and she returned to work with back pay.”
The statement also acknowledges the store, and other nearby locations, will be provided training to re-enforce compliance with immigration processes.
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