On March 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had a reached a settlement agreement with Poulan Pecan, a pecan supplier based in Poulan, Georgia, to resolve allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The department’s investigation, which started with a hotline referral, concluded that Poulan Pecan discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens by requiring them to present specific and additional documents as proof of identity and work authorization during the Form I-9 verification process. According to the department’s investigation, the company did not impose similar requirements on U.S. citizens, thereby violating the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.
Under the terms of the settlement, Poulan Pecan will pay $500 in civil penalties and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification procedure for one year. In addition, certain company employees underwent DOJ training about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA prior to the announcement of the agreement.