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Companies to pay $832K to DOJ for using language discouraging non-U.S. citizens' job applications

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has signed settlement agreements that require a total of 16 private employers to pay a total of $832,944 in civil penalties to resolve claims that each company discriminated against non-U.S. citizens in the hiring process. The settlement agreements were signed by the Department of Justice.

The settlement was reached as a result of a federal inquiry that discovered at least one job announcement on one recruitment platform for the Georgia Institute of Technology that excluded non-U.S. citizens from consideration for the position. According to the officials, the investigation discovered dozens of other discriminatory listings on the platform operated by Georgia Tech as well as other platforms used by institutions all around the United States.

At the beginning of this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that it had settled similar allegations with 16 additional companies for a total of over $800,000, including American Express Employer, the accounting company KPMG LLC, and Edward Jones Investments. The corporations stated that they did nothing unlawful.

At least 74 discriminatory job postings were found on the Georgia Tech site posted by only one employer, and several of the companies also used other university platforms to publicize their discriminatory practices. In many cases, the citizenship status limitations also prevented students from applying or even meeting with firm recruiters, and it was found that the advertisements discouraged competent students from applying for jobs because of their citizenship status.

After a lawful permanent resident lodged a discrimination complaint alleging that a company advertised a U.S. citizen’s only position on a Georgia Tech job recruitment platform, the Immigration and Employment Review (IER) was also involved in these matters. The discrimination complaint was the starting point for the IER's involvement. During the examination, several other advertisements that appeared to be discriminatory on the ground were found on the job recruitment platform operated by Georgia Tech, as well as on other platforms utilized by colleges and universities located all over the United States. The IER went ahead and initiated investigations into the employers with who it would be settling, and it is still conducting investigations into additional employers.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) makes it illegal for employers and employees to make a distinction against one another based on citizenship or immigration status unless doing so is mandated by law, regulation, executive order, or the terms of a government contract. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prevents discrimination based on citizenship status in employment matters such as hiring, firing, and referral for recruitment or fees. This protection extends to citizens of the United States as well as refugees, asylum seekers, and recent lawful permanent residents.

The enforcement of the anti-discrimination provision of the INA is within the purview of the Immigration and Employee Rights Section (IER), which is a part of the Civil Rights Division. Restricts the ability to treat people differently based on the law. Citizenship status and national origin in the context of recruitment, termination, or recruitment or referral for a fee; inappropriate documented practice, and countermeasures, including threats.

Even though the Immigration and Nationality Act makes it clear that discriminatory employment practices directed toward noncitizens are expressly prohibited. According to the wall news, assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who oversees the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice " contains a loophole that’s large enough for a freight train." The specific caveats that are available for employers to favor "equally qualified citizens" indicate that businesses can pass over noncitizens in job ads if they acquire a permanently resident candidate who is just as qualified for the role as the noncitizen applicant would be.

According to the wall news Morrel-Samuels also said, “So in other words, if somebody felt that they were discriminated against because they’re [an Irish citizen], okay — all the employer had to do was just to show that there was an equally qualified U.S. citizen that they preferred,”

This is a highly expensive fee for employers to pay, when filling out immigration paperwork, the tiniest error could result in a fine of millions of dollars. But are there any ways to avoid this kind of penalty? The Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute (CICI) was established specifically for this purpose.

Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute is a web-based training program developed and delivered by business immigration attorneys to help companies improve their international recruitment, retention, and protection strategies.

This is all about safety and security:

A no-nonsense, hands-on training live webinar on what each and every company needs to do in order to satisfy the requirements for employment verification set forth by the federal government. Participants will pick up the following: Why maintaining compliance with Form I-9 is essential How to fill out an I-9 form accurately instructions for the maintenance, preservation, and eventual destruction of I-9 records.

What You'll Be Taking Away

Gain an understanding of ICE Best Practices and the reasons why your organization must apply all 12 Best Practices in order to be in full compliance.

Protect your firm by implementing our ready-to-implement Corporate Immigration Compliance Plans, Policies, and Procedures for your company that is based on ICE Best Practices. These will help ensure that your company complies with immigration laws.

During the employment process, you will undergo instruction on E-Verify, SSNVS, and non-discrimination. Acquaint yourself with the investigations conducted by ICE and the auditing process. Acquaint yourself with the most recent workplace enforcement decisions and policy shifts.


Why should you sign up for our program?

  • Get a Certificate

Earn a CICI Certificate when the course is completed.

  • 3 Formats

Live Webinar, Available Nationwide.

  • Flexible Times

Schedule courses on your time.

  • Ready-to-Implement

Skills that you can use, immediately after course completion.


If you are unsure about which type of training to take?


How It Works:

It is shockingly easy, there are only three steps required to obtain the certificate.

  • Choose a Time

Register and select a time that works best for your schedule.

  • Get Trained

Get equipped with the tools you need during your live or online seminar

  • Get Certified

Receive a CICI certification upon completion of your training.

Image of Caleb Casady

Caleb Casady

Director of Learning

Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute

NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This article is for educational purposes only, it is not legal advice that may be applicable to your situation

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.


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