The U.S. Justice Department announced today it has reached an agreement with a San Francisco coffee shop that resolves claims that the café discriminated against a non-citizen worker.

Under the agreement, the owner of Kim Hoang Coffee and Fast Food in the Tenderloin District of the city will pay a $485 fine, give the worker $700 in back pay and offer to rehire her.

The employee is a non-citizen who had valid work-authorization papers, the department said.

The DOJ alleged the coffee shop owner violated a provision of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act that bars discrimination against employees on the basis of citizenship status.

It charged that the owner improperly rejected the worker’s papers when re-verifying her employment authorization in April, which caused the employee to believe she had been fired.

The department also alleged that its investigation showed that the employer believed she could ask non-U.S. citizens to produce specific documents to establish work authorization upon initial hire, but did not need to make similar demands of U.S. citizens.

The anti-bias provision of the immigration laws prohibits employers from demanding work-authorization documentation from non-citizens that is different from what U.S. citizens are required to present, the department said.

The case was handled by the DOJ’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices and the agreement was signed today by Acting Deputy Special Counsel Alberto Ruisanchez.

The café’s owner, Ten Uvong Miu, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Miu also agreed in the settlement to undergo training in the anti-discrimination provision of the law, to display a poster explaining the law, and to treat all individuals equally in hiring, firing and verification of employment eligibility.

If the claims had not been resolved, the case would have gone before a Justice Department administrative law judge, and the result of that proceeding could have been appealed to a federal appeals court.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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  • baklazhan

    Gee, that settlement seems downright reasonable.

  • David Wright

    +baklazhan, you’re right. I’m kind of stunned to find such a reasonable story. I wish more simple cases could be handled this way.