Nebraska Beef will pay a $200,000 penalty to settle a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into its hiring practices, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The U.S. Department of Justice stated that it had reason to believe the Nebraska processor had violated the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The department said in a statement that the settlement resolves an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) into whether the company was engaging in employment discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  In particular, OSC investigated whether the company was requiring non-U.S. citizen employees, because of their citizenship status, to present proof of their immigration status for the employment eligibility verification process.

Nebraska Beef has denied any wrongdoing, and a lawyer for the company said that the company negotiated a settlement  rather than spend time and money on litigation.

“Throughout the process Nebraska Beef has maintained that it does not improperly ask for specific documents to verify employment eligibility in violation of the law,” said the company’s attorney, Brian Brislen of Omaha firm Lamson, Dugan & Murray.

Under the settlement agreement, Nebraska Beef Ltd. will pay a $200,000 civil penalty to the United States and will establish an uncapped back pay fund to compensate individuals who lost wages because of the company’s practices.  The settlement also requires the company to undergo compliance monitoring for two years, train its employees on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and to review and revise its office policies.

Source: Omaha World-Herald, U.S. Department of Justice