WASHINGTON – Omaha-based Nebraska Beef agreed to pay a $200,000 civil penalty to settle claims the processor discriminated against non-US citizen employees because of their immigration status, the US Department of Justice reported Aug. 24.

An investigation by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) revealed that Nebraska Beef required non-US citizens authorized to work in the United States to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify employment eligibility; but did not enforce the requirement for “similarly situated US citizens.”

“The department is committed to ensuring that individuals who are authorized to work in the United States can support their families and contribute to our country’s economic growth without facing unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to employment,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.

Additional terms of the agreement require Nebraska Beef to:

• establish an uncapped back pay fund to compensate individuals who lost wages because of the company’s practices;
• undergo compliance monitoring for two years;
• train employees on the anti-discrimination of the Immigration and Nationality Act; and
• review and revise its office policies.

The INA prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.