As Kroger employees and their families prepare for the holidays, they’re faced with a dilemma.
Will they continue working at a company that is in violation of federal law?
Or will they leave and take advantage of the federal jobless assistance program?
The federal government has no plans to stop hiring Kroger workers, and the company says that any efforts to shut them down would be a mistake.
Federal authorities say that since the program was launched in 2007, Kroger has used federal jobs in excess of 30 times and is now under investigation by the Labor Department and other federal agencies.
The federal government says Kroger is violating several laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
But Kroger argues that these laws do not apply to it.
The company says it has a strong compliance program and that it has met its obligations.
The Department of Labor says that, in all, the government has used at least 12,000 federal jobs to fill jobs that Kroger was not legally allowed to fill, including some in the retail industry.
The Labor Department is also investigating Kroger for hiring non-United States citizens, who it says have been in the country illegally for more than six months.
The agency is also looking into Kroger’s use of a temporary visa program, which allowed the company to temporarily employ temporary foreign workers without a visa.
“The Department does not recognize Kroger as a legitimate, lawful employer,” the department said in a statement.
“Kroger must stop using non-U.S. citizens in violation to avoid the Federal Employment Eligibility Standards.”
Krogers spokesperson Karen Schreiber told CBS News, “We have complied with all the laws that have been issued and are cooperating with the Department.
We are not going to change.”
The department is also cracking down on the use of temporary visas to hire non-citizens.
“There are a number of provisions that we enforce,” Schreib said.
“We are actively investigating these types of cases.”
The company has been under scrutiny in recent years for hiring workers from India and other countries, and has been sued by the Obama administration for hiring illegal immigrants.
The company has also faced criticism from Congress and the White House over the number of employees it has employed in the U.S., including more than 400 at a time.