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Walmart Inc. has agreed to settle claims that a Texas store violated federal immigration law by asking noncitizens to provide unnecessary documents when verifying authorization to work, according to U.S. Department of Justice documents.

A lawful permanent resident, whose name was redacted, said she was fired on her first day of work at a Walmart store in Fort Worth despite producing the records required to establish her employment eligibility. She said a human-resources employee asked her for a document from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that she did not have.

When she protested her firing, both a regional supervisor and a hiring staff member at another store incorrectly told her the additional document was required, the Justice Department said in a news release. The department began investigating her claim shortly after it was filed in October 2017.

In February, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the department's Civil Rights Division notified Walmart that it was also investigating whether the Bentonville retailer "had engaged in a pattern or practice of unfair immigration-related employment practices," according to the settlement agreement filed this week.

Investigators ultimately found "reasonable cause to believe" that from at least Dec. 10, 2016, through at least Oct. 27, 2017, an employee of Store 3044 maintained a practice of requiring some non-U.S. citizen employees to produce an unnecessary Homeland Security document, the agreement states. They also found the human-resources manager for the Fort Worth area failed to intervene to correct the employee when informed of the complainant's situation.

Walmart denies discriminating against anyone in the employment eligibility verification process, the agreement states. Further, the retailer affirms its commitment to protecting the right to work of all its employees, and to cooperating with the Justice Department to ensure its human resources staff in the Fort Worth area gets the training spelled out in the settlement.

The fired worker has been rehired, and received $1,944 in back wages. Walmart must pay a civil penalty of $1,000 to the U.S. government; conduct the employee training by April 30 and comply with the Justice Department's monitoring and reporting requirements.

Business on 12/13/2018

Print Headline: Walmart settles wrongful-firing claim

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