Panda Express to pay $400,000 to settle immigration discrimination case
- Restaurant chain Panda Express will pay $400,000 in penalties to settle a discrimination case against immigrant workers, says the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., Panda Express's parent company, will also pay $200,000 in back pay to workers affected by its alleged discriminatory practices.
- Panda Express is charged with requiring immigrants with lawful permanent residency status to re-establish their permission to work when their Permanent Resident Cards expired, but not requiring U.S. citizens to do the same when their work papers expired.
- The Immigration and Nationality Act's (INA's) antidiscrimination policy prohibits documentation requests based on workers' citizenship or national origin.
Employers need to carefully examine immigration laws, and specifically note what practices could lead to INA violations. Panda Express may have been trying to be careful regarding immigration documentation, but with the EEOC paying close attention to national origin discrimination, employers have to be wary of swinging the pendulum too far.
Immigration will likely remain a hot-button issue during the Trump administration. A majority of employers plan to hire more foreign workers this year than in 2016 thanks to job growth and the pressure of the skills gap. Competition for top talent continues to grow.
Trump has made calls to limit immigration to try and encourage "American First" jobs. But some businesses may have to close if they can't receive the visas they need. Tech industry leaders recently met with Trump on a variety of issues, including immigration, and expressed that their workers were worried about the state of the issue.
- U.S. Justice Department Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Panda Express