Washington Potato Co. has agreed to pay a civil penalty to settle a U.S. Department of Justice discrimination claim involving Freeze Pack, its Pasco vegetable processing plant.
The Justice Department announced the $100,000 agreement at the end of business Thursday. The agreement resolves an investigation into whether Washington Potato Co. discriminated against immigrants by requiring different documents than it did for U.S. citizens, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The investigation said Washington Potato regularly requested that non-U.S. citizens present specific documents to confirm their status, such as Permanent Resident Cards or Employment Authorization Documents, but did not subject U.S. citizens to the same requests.
The act’s anti-discrimination provisions prohibit employers from “subjecting employees to different or unnecessary documentary demands based on citizenship, immigration status or national origin.”
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Under the agreement, Washington Potato will pay a penalty, train staff, post notices informing workers about their rights under the act and be subject to continuing monitoring and reporting requirements.
The settlement follows a similar deal in May that resolved litigation concerning another Washington Potato facility in Pasco.