Justice Dept. Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Mrs. Fields' Cookies

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Mrs. Fields' Original Cookies Inc. (Mrs. Fields), headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado. Mrs. Fields' brands produce, distribute, and sell specialty items, including cookies, brownies, and chocolates. The settlement resolves a claim that Mrs. Fields' production and distribution center in Salt Lake City, Utah, violated the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization.

The DOJ's investigation concluded that from at least March 21, 2016, to March 20, 2017, Mrs. Fields required lawful permanent residents to provide specific documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security to prove their work authorization, while not imposing this requirement on U.S. citizens. The DOJ noted that all work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, have the right to choose which document to present from a range of valid documents to demonstrate their authorization to work in the United States.

Under the settlement, Mrs. Fields will pay $26,400 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to DOJ monitoring and reporting requirements. In addition, certain employees must attend training on the INA's antidiscrimination provision.

The DOJ's press release is at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-immigration-related-discrimination-claim-against-utah-cookie. The settlement agreement is at https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1117316/download.