Macy’s Reaches Settlement With Justice Department

Agreement resolves allegations the company violated the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The U.S. Justice Department has reached an agreement with Macy’s Inc. that resolves allegations the company violated the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

This story first appeared in the June 28, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to the settlement agreement, Macy’s agreed to revise its employment eligibility reverification policies and procedures, and to provide training to its human resources personnel across the country on the INA’s antidiscrimination provision. Macy’s, which employs about 180,000 people in the U.S., also agreed to pay $175,000 in civil penalties to the U.S., and to create a $100,000 back-pay fund to compensate any individuals who suffered lost wages or loss of seniority as a result of its practices. Under the agreement, Macy’s employment eligibility verification practices will be subject to monitoring by the department and reporting requirements for a period of two years.

“Employers must ensure that they follow correct procedures during the reverification of employment authorization of non-U.S. citizens,” said Gregory Friel, deputy assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Given the size of their workforce, national employers are particularly encouraged to evaluate their policies and practices and make use of the division’s no-cost technical assistance to ensure compliance with the INA’s antidiscrimination provision.”

RELATED STORY: Macy’s Revamps Herald Square Beauty Floor >>

The investigation was initiated based on several calls to the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices’ worker hotline regarding potential immigration-related unfair employment practices. The OSC is responsible for enforcing the antidiscrimination provision of the INA. Based on the investigation, the department determined that Macy’s engaged in unfair documentary practices against work-authorized immigrant employees during the employment eligibility reverification process and that some employees suffered economic harm through lost work or seniority as a result.

An enhanced process for employee verification is a key component of the immigration reform legislation pending in Congress. The legislation passed the Senate on Thursday and is headed to the House.

The INA’s antidiscrimination provision prohibits employers from treating workers differently in the employment eligibility verification or reverification process by demanding more or different documents, or by limiting the worker’s choice of documents, based on an individual’s immigration status or national origin.