Department of Justice Settles With IT Staffer Over Immigration Related Discrimination in Hiring

Department of Justice settles with IT Staffer over Immigration Discrimination

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has agreed to a settlement with a Virginia-based IT staffing and recruitment company. The settlement between the DOJ and the employer resolves claims that the latter discriminated against the U.S. and non-U.S. citizens authorized to work in the United States based on their immigration or citizenship status.

Kristen Clarke, the Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, explained, “Neither employers nor staffing agencies can exclude job applicants by advertising or implementing unlawful preferences based upon citizenship or immigration status. The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing the law to ensure that those looking for jobs are protected from unlawful discrimination.”

In its investigation, the DOJ found at least four distinct occasions the employer hired and screened candidates based on specific immigration and citizenship status preferences. These practices harmed candidates that did not fit into these select categories by deterring them from seeking employment.

The DOJ’s investigation also found that on at least three occasions, the employer was unwilling to employ refugees, asylees, and U.S. nationals for positions advertised to citizens and lawful permanent residents. On a separate occasion, the DOJ also found that the employer specifically sought H-1B visa holders and discriminated against U.S. workers.

This behavior violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which protects individuals from discrimination in employment based on immigration or citizenship status. Under the INA, employers and staffing agencies are prohibited from denying employment to any individual based on their citizenship or immigration status. This restriction also applies to employers and recruiters who discriminate based on clients’ wishes. The exception is if a law, government contract, or another legitimate legal requirement allows it.

The DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section enforces the INA’s anti-discrimination requirements. This section enforces the law’s prohibition against discrimination in hiring, firing, and recruitment based on candidates’ place of origin, citizenship status, and immigration status, as well as unfair documentary practices.

Under the DOJ and the employer’s settlement agreement, the employer must pay civil penalties of $12,000, revise its policies, and provide its relevant employees and agents with training on compliance with the INA’s anti-discrimination provisions. The employer will also be subject to additional monitoring for compliance for the following three years.

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