The Justice Department alleges that Morton's Restuarunt in Portland, Oregon required two non-citizen employees authorized to work in the United States to present more documents than legally required to establish their work eligibility. Morton's then fired the workers after it rejected their valid Social Security cards and demanded to see additional documentation establishing their work authorization. However, US citizen's employed by Morton's were able to use only their social security cards to gain employment at the resturant.
"Our nation's laws ensure than all individuals who are authorized to work in this county can do so without fear of discrimination or retaliation because of their citizenship status or nation origin," said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that all authorized US workers, regardless of citizenship or national origin are afforded equal opportunity in the workplace.
Under the terms of the out-of-court-settlement, Morton's has agreed to provide full back pay of $2,880 and $5,715.62 to the two employees as well as a civil penalty to the US Treasury of $2,200. Morton's employees will be trained on federal protection for workers against citizenship status and national origin discrimination. Their parent company, Morton's of Chicago, Inc. will provide complete information about properly conducting the employment eligibility verification process to its managers and employees nationwide who have any role in completing the government's Form I9 process to determine work authorization.