Phoenix Company Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, August 12, 2019 - 9:09am
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Upper Crust Bakery provides baked goods for companies like Starbucks, Costco and Kroger’s.

A Phoenix company reaches a deal with the federal government over a discrimination investigation involving non-U.S. citizen workers.

The website for Upper Crust Bakery said its facility at 37th Avenue and Washington Street provides baked goods for companies like Starbucks, Costco and Kroger’s. The Department of Justice said Upper Crust discriminated against some employees by requiring them to present unnecessary and specific immigration documents to prove their work authorization.

Jodi Bohr with Phoenix-based Gallagher & Kennedy practices employment and labor but was not involved in the Upper Crust Bakery claim.

“This isn’t a common issue, I don’t believe,” she said. “I don’t see it very often. And I think the issue arises when an employer has untrained staff completing the I-9’s or requesting the documents from the employee.”

As part of the settlement, Upper Crust Bakery will pay a $45,000 fine, train employees on the anti-discrimination provision and be subject to compliance monitoring for two years.

Bohr said all employees must fill out the Form I-9 and present documents to employers, “It’s a short form, but there’s a 15-page instruction booklet and so while it’s short, it’s really not necessarily the easiest thing to fill out perfectly and that’s what employers are required to do — they are required to have it done just perfectly.”

The Form I-9 allows employees to choose to present one document from the “A” list or one document from the “B” list and one document from the "A" list.

Items from the “A” list include a U.S. passport and a permanent resident alien card, among others. Some of the “B” list documents include a driver’s license, voter registration card and U.S. military card. The “C” list accepted document include a Social Security card and Native American tribal document, among others.

The top of Form I-9 contains an anti-discrimination notice that prohibits employers from specifying which documents an employee may present to establish work authorization.

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