LNK International, Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer located in New York, has agreed to pay $220,000 to settle charges of discrimination in its employment practices. The charges, issued by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), indicate that the company was engaged in practices that discriminated against lawful permanent residents and other legal immigrants. The settlement shows what kind of hardship immigrants can face when seeking employment, even when they are in the United States legally.
What is LNK International, Inc.?
LNK is a pharmaceutical manufacturer that specializes in generic versions of over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin and cough medicine. Their products are sold in supermarkets, chain drug stores, and other similar stores all across the country, typically under store brands. Altogether, LNK boasts an annual revenue of greater than $500 million, with more than 1,000 employees working for them.
What Was LNK Accused of Doing?
According to the DOJ, LNK subjected immigrants who sought employment with the company to unusually strict standards compared to natural-born citizens. Lawful permanent residents, for example, could only submit identification in the form of their permanent residency card. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens had numerous forms of identification they could choose from, making it easier for them to apply for the positions they sought.
In addition, LNK had a policy of randomly subjecting asylees and refugees working for them to periodically show their work authorizations. This was despite the fact that these immigrants would already have submitted work authorizations to the company to prove they could legally work. This policy was found to be in violation of anti-discrimination laws, subjecting these immigrants to unnecessarily harsh scrutiny for no valid purpose.
What Does LNK Have to Do As a Result of This Settlement?
In addition to paying a $220,000 fine for violating federal discrimination laws, LNK will need to introduce an anti-discrimination policy and train its employees on that policy. In particular, it must train its employees on immigration and employment rights, to prevent further acts of discrimination. Under the agreement with the DOJ, LNK will have three years to comply with the terms of the settlement.
What Does This Mean For Employees Facing Discrimination?
This settlement is a good sign of what can happen when an employer is caught discriminating against its employees. The DOJ takes discrimination claims seriously, even when that discrimination is against non-citizens, including permanent residents, asylees, and refugees. However, to be able to get justice for discrimination, you may need to contact a lawyer with knowledge of employment law who can advise you on your best next steps.
If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 40 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.