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Denny’s Agrees To Retrain Managers

April 11, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Denny’s Inc. has agreed to retrain its restaurant managers nationwide in response to allegations it requested excessive documentation from aliens applying for work.

The Justice Department said Monday the company also agreed to pay $89,400 in civil penalties.

The managers of all 1,700 company-owned Denny’s restaurants will be trained how to verify that aliens are eligible to work under the Immigration and Reform and Control Act of 1986.

John Trasvina, Justice’s special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices, praised the company’s ``cooperative spirit in resolving the matter.″

``Even though the investigation focused solely on San Diego-area restaurants, Denny’s is taking steps to ensure that managers at every one of its company-owned restaurants across the country do not make the same mistake,″ Trasvina said.

Trasvina’s office conducted an 18-month investigation of allegations that San Diego Denny’s restaurants requested specific documents from newly hired noncitizen workers to prove they could legally work in this country.

The law prohibits employers from demanding specific identification documents and allows new employees to choose which of several documents to produce to establish work eligibility.

The 1986 act prohibits job discrimination based on national origin and citizenship status.

In 1994, Denny’s settled a $46 million discrimination suit filed by black Secret Service agents who said they were denied service at a restaurant. The complaints were among a series of discrimination claims by black customers at Denny’s restaurants around the nation.

As part of an agreement with the Justice Department in those cases, the chain agreed to retrain employees in requirements of federal civil rights law covering public accommodations, feature minorities in its ads and hire an outside lawyer to monitor compliance.

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