WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department reached an agreement today with SK Food Group Inc., a company based in Seattle, resolving claims that the company used discriminatory document practices when verifying the work authority of non-citizens.
The department’s investigation, which was initiated based on a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), found that SK Food required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to produce specific Department of Homeland Security documents to prove their work authority in connection with the company’s employment eligibility verification process, but did not make similar demands of U.S. citizens. Such discriminatory practices are prohibited under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Under the agreement, SK Food must pay $40,500 in civil penalties to the United States; identify and provide back pay to any individuals who suffered lost wages as a result of the company’s alleged discriminatory documentary practices; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for one year.
“Employers cannot create discriminatory obstacles for work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in the employment eligibility verification process,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “In this case, we commend the company for its full cooperation during the investigation and for its efforts to address and resolve the deficiencies in its employment eligibility verification process.”
“No one who is legally authorized to work in the United States should be denied that opportunity based on suspicion or stereotypes,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan for the Western District of Washington. “The agreement filed today ensures training for human resource workers and outreach to employees to promote and safeguard equal treatment for all new workers.”
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, SK Food Group has a 150,000 square foot USDA certified manufacturing facility in Reno, Nevada, as well as a warehouse in Columbus, Ohio, and production facilities in Quebec and Alberta. Founded in 1943, SK makes Oven Pride Kitchen® foods as well as custom private label products.
"We place a strong emphasis on employee relations and are committed to supporting a working environment where employees thrive and play a key role in our success," says the company. "The men and women who make up the SK Food Group team are the very heart and core of our company. Their commitment and combined years of experience are the reason we are able to set the highest standards for customer service and product superiority."And the company says it is hiring (Click here to see jobs available).
"We place a strong emphasis on employee relations and are committed to supporting a working environment where employees thrive and play a key role in our success," the company says. "We are looking for employees that take pride in their work and want to help us build high quality products and processes. The individuals who make up our company are, in every way, our greatest asset and most valued ingredient."Also of InterestU.S. Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Staffing Company
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