The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently settled with ten companies over discriminatory job advertisements on a college recruitment platform. The DOJ claims that these advertisements excluded non-U.S. citizens from consideration. Together with 20 similar settlements reached with the DOJ, these ten settlements bring the combined penalties to more than $1.6 million.
According to the Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, “The Justice Department has now held 30 companies accountable for using a college recruitment platform to post discriminatory job advertisements that locked non-U.S. citizen students out of job opportunities. These settlements should make clear our commitment to enforcing federal civil rights laws to ensure that all applicants have a fair and equal chance to compete for jobs.”
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division began its investigation after receiving a complaint from a lawful permanent resident. According to the resident, they studied at the college that hosted the recruitment platform. As such, the student claimed that a bank limited its advertised internship to only U.S. citizens on the recruitment platform.
After investigating the complaint, the DOJ found several other discriminatory postings on the recruitment platform. In addition, they discovered that platforms maintained by other colleges advertised similar postings. According to the resolved cases, the ten employers that settled with the DOJ posted at least one job advertisement that excluded non-U.S. citizens.
According to the DOJ, these advertisements discouraged students from applying for the positions due to their citizenship status. Furthermore, the DOJ claims these restrictions often deterred students from meeting with these companies’ recruiters.
These settlements will now require each company to pay a civil penalty and train their recruitment staff on the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This Act prohibits recruitment, hiring, and firing discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin. The companies also agreed to refrain from future job postings with discriminatory language. This language includes restricting potential applicants based on citizenship or immigration status absent statutory requirements.
These settlements illustrate how easily organizations can unknowingly violate the INA and similar federal and state laws. For example, the ever-changing regulations around the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process have proven a litigation minefield. The best way to help ensure compliance in this process is with an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can help guide HR personnel through the process and provide helpful features.
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