McDonald's reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department Thursday on charges that the restaurant chain discriminated against immigrant workers at company owned stores.

U.S. investigators say McDonald's forced legal permanent residents who were employed in its stores to show new resident cards, popularly known as a "green card," when their old ones expired.

Federal law prohibits this practice because lawful residents can use any one of several documents when taking a job. Green card holders also have a permanent right to work even if the card expires.

Under the Justice Department settlement, McDonald's will pay $355,000 in fines and compensate workers who lost their jobs because of the illegal practice.

The penalties only affect restaurants McDonald's directly owns and not its franchises, which are 80 percent of its locations.