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Justice Dept.: Gap reaches agreement to settle discrimination charges

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Gap Inc. has reached a settlement to resolve federal charges that it discriminated against workers because of their immigration status, the Justice Department announced Monday.

In a statement, federal prosecutors said the U.S. clothing company has agreed to pay $73,263 in civil penalties, back wages to two employees -- an asylee and a lawful permanent resident -- who were fired under Gap policies and provide training to thousands of employees nationwide on anti-discrimination laws in order to resolve the charges filed under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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The company also agreed to ensure its electronic programs are compliant with applicable rules and be subject to monitoring and reporting requirements.

In return, Gap does not admit to committing wrongdoing, contends its actions were not unlawful and that it did not engage in a pattern or practice of discrimination against any of its employees, the settlement reads.

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According to the Justice Department, it notified Gap in early April 2018 that it had initiated an investigation into whether it had violated laws under the anti-discrimination provision of the IMA.

Investigators found that it did discriminate against certain non-U.S. citizen employees by reverifying their permission to work without reason for doing so. They also found the company required them to produce immigration documents for the re-verification instead of permitting them to choose other valid documentation.

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They also said Gap's reliance on an electronic human resource management system contributed to its discriminatory practices.

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Gap has been contacted for comment.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said this settlement with Gap underscores her department's work to end unlawful employment discrimination.

"Thirty-five years ago, Congress passed a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against workers because of their citizenship, immigration status or national origin, and from retaliating against them for asserting their rights," Clarke said. "The division continues to vigorously enforce the law -- holding thousands of employers accountable for violations, collecting millions of dollars in civil penalties and back pay and obtaining relief for countless victims of discrimination."

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