McDonald's
A McDonald’s sign. Photo via @McDonalds Twitter

A McDonald’s franchisee operating four restaurants in the San Diego area has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice resolving allegations the franchisee’s company discriminated against non-U.S. citizens when asking for their documentation to work in the United States, it was announced Tuesday.

According to a DOJ statement, Sutherland Management Company refused to accept one person’s documentation that proved he had permission to work in the U.S. The company demanded he present a different document and did not allow him to work until he presented it.

“Under federal law, employers may not discriminate by asking workers for more documents than necessary, or specific documents, to prove their permission to work because of their citizenship status, immigration status or national origin,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division.

“Employees have the right — U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens alike — to choose which valid, acceptable documentation they wish to present to prove their permission to work.”

Further investigation of the claims against Sutherland “revealed the company routinely discriminated against non-U.S. citizens, primarily lawful permanent residents, by asking them to present specific, Department of Homeland Security-issued documents to prove their permission to work in the United States,” the DOJ said.

As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to pay $40,000 in civil penalties, pay backpay for lost wages to the worker who complained, review and revise its employment policies and train its employees who are responsible for verifying workers’ permission to work in the United States.

City News Service contributed to this article.