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Abercrombie settles U.S. immigration discrimination charge

25 Jun

Abercrombie & Fitch Co agreed to special monitoring of its hiring practices and to pay more than $158,000 to settle a federal charge that it discriminated against a job candidate who was not a U.S. citizen by requiring her to present a green card.

Thursday’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice calls for Abercrombie to pay the woman $3,661 of back pay and interest, set up a $153,932 fund to compensate others who may have faced similar discrimination, and pay a $1,100 civil fine.

The clothing retailer also agreed to two years of federal monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices.

Abercrombie was accused of violating the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act by requiring the complainant to provide written proof of her immigration status to verify her employment eligibility, though it did not require such proof from U.S. citizens.

The New Albany, Ohio-based company denied engaging in immigration-related discrimination or unfair documentary practices, according to the settlement agreement.

In a statement, Abercrombie said it cooperated with the Justice Department probe and did not intentionally violate the immigration law. “Compliance with all aspects of U.S. immigration laws has always been, and will continue to be, a priority for Abercrombie,” it said.

The settlement was announced after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 1 revived a separate discrimination lawsuit by a Muslim woman who said Abercrombie refused to hire her in 2008 for an in-store sales job because she wore a head scarf.

Abercrombie claimed that the head scarf did not comply with its dress code, but the court said the retailer’s decision may have been motivated by a desire not to accommodate the woman’s religious practices.

Shares of Abercrombie closed up 40 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $23.40 in Thursday trading.