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Department of Justice Settles Employee Discrimination Case Against Levy Restaurants

kitchen-731351_640-300x200The United States Department of Justice arrived at a settlement with Levy Restaurants, concluding the department’s investigation of a complaint filed by an employment-based immigrant against Levy’s Barclay Center in Brooklyn, accusing its management of violating anti-discrimination polices under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Justice Department found that the chain of sports arena restaurants, formally owned by Levy Premium Foodservice Limited Partnership, had discriminated against two legal permanent residents at its Barclay Center branch. The company had improperly re-verified their eligibility for employment due to their immigrant status; specifically, the department determined that Levy erred in requiring their employees to present certain documents to re-establish their employment eligibility.

Levy suspended the employees when they were unable to provide these documents, prompting one of aggrieved parties to file a lawsuit on the grounds of discrimination based on immigration status. According to the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to present any unnecessary documents to fulfill requirements related to their citizenship, immigration status, or country of origin.

Despite the offense, Levy was quick to cooperate with the department during its investigation, reinstating the charging party, along with his lost pay and leave benefits. Levy’s settlement with the justice department stipulates that they must pay a civil penalty to the federal government and go through department-sanctioned training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. Henceforth, Levy will also be subject to regular departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

“The Justice Department is committed to ensuring the rights of lawful U.S. workers to be free from discriminatory barriers based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin,” said Tom Wheeler, acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.

“We commend Levy for working with the Civil Rights Division to implement the corrective action resolving this matter,” he added.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is tasked with enforcing the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. The statute prohibits the referencing of citizenship, immigration status, and national origin in hiring, terminating, and recruitment or paid referral of employees. It also forbids unjust documentary practices, intimidation, and retaliation.

Immigrant applicants and employees that have experienced any kind of employment discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or country of origin during the employment process are advised to call the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section at 1-800-255-7688 to report the incident.

You can find a full copy of the Levy settlement agreement on the Justice Department’s website.

If you or a loved has experienced any kind of discrimination at the hands of an employer due to immigration status, we encourage you to talk to the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm to discuss a potential course of legal action. Call us to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.