The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced a settlement with R.E.E. Inc., the owner and operator of several McDonald’s franchises in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The settlement arose from a lawsuit alleging the R.E.E.-owned violated anti-discrimination rules under the Immigration and Nationality Act by routinely discriminating against non-American citizens authorized for work while verifying those work authorizations.
According to the notes on the DOJ’s investigation, R.E.E. required non-American citizens to provide authorization issued by the Department of Homeland Security to prove work authorization due to citizenship or immigration status, despite the fact that some already had presented proof of work authorization. These incidents occurred from at least October 14, 2015 through December 31, 2017.
All work-authorized people, no matter their citizenship status, have the right to choose which documents they use to prove they are allowed to work in the United States. R.E.E. allegedly violated those rights by seeking specific documentation, even when employees had already presented other forms of proof.
R.E.E. was required to pay more than $82,000 to settle the claim, and had to pay an additional $8,746.43 in restitution to a worker who lost work as a result of these practices. R.E.E. will also be subjected to additional monitoring, training and reporting requirements with the Department of Justice.
In many circumstances, these types of settlements are only able to occur as a result of reports issued by whistleblowers with inside knowledge of the wrongdoing. If you, then, are aware of any wrongdoing within your company or agency, you can make federally protected disclosures to the proper government agencies. For more information about how to proceed with your whistleblower claim, contact Kardell Law Group.