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McDonald's hit with $355,000 in civil penalties in discrimination case

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(Reuters) — McDonald's Corp. will pay $355,000 in civil penalties, undergo 20 months of monitoring and train its employees as part of a settlement of an immigration-related discrimination claim, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

"The settlement agreement also requires McDonald's to compensate lawful permanent resident employees of McDonald's-owned restaurants who lost work or lost their jobs due to these documentary practices," the Justice Department said in a statement.

The agreement addresses actions by only McDonald's, not its franchises, the department said.

An investigation, based on information received on a department worker hotline, found McDonald's required lawful permanent residents to show a new permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card," when their original document expired, the statement said.

This is not required by law, the statement said, and the investigation found McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant chain, did not have a similar policy of asking its U.S. citizen employees to show new documents.

McDonald's said in a statement: "We deny any wrongdoing in this matter, but in order to avoid further expense, and ... to cooperate with the Office of Special Counsel, we reached a settlement."

The company values "diversity of thought, background and culture," it said.

Some of the permanent residents who were unable to provide a new card when asked by McDonald's were not allowed to work or lost their jobs, the Justice Department said.

Lawful permanent residents who worked for a corporate-owned McDonald's between Sept. 23, 2012, and March 1, 2015, may be eligible for compensation, the statement said.