Justice Department Settles with IT Recruiter to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims
(STL.News) The Department of Justice announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Amtex Systems Inc., an IT staffing and recruiting company based in New York. The settlement resolves claims that Amtex discriminated against U.S. workers based on their citizenship or immigration status during several stages of the recruitment process because their clients preferred workers with temporary employment visas.
“IT staffing agencies cannot unlawfully exclude applicants or impose additional burdens because of someone’s citizenship or immigration status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing the law to ensure that job applicants, including U.S. workers, are protected from unlawful discrimination.”
The department’s investigation began after a U.S. citizen filed a discrimination complaint with the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) against Amtex. Based on its investigation, the department concluded that Amtex used a company operating in India to identify and screen job applicants based on clients’ preferences for workers with particular citizenship or immigration statuses. The investigation determined that the recruiters sent job advertisements with their clients’ unlawful citizenship or immigration status preferences, and also implemented those preferences when considering applicants.
The recruiters’ practices harmed U.S. workers by deterring them from applying, and not considering those who did apply. For example, the investigation revealed that Amtex did not consider at least three U.S. workers when they applied to a job posting that stated a preference for workers with temporary employment visas. The department further concluded that recruiters for Amtex discriminated against non-U.S. citizen applicants by routinely requiring them to provide an immigration document to move forward in the recruitment process.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) protects U.S. citizens, non-U.S. citizen nationals, refugees, asylees, and recent lawful permanent residents from workplace discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status. Recruiters are liable for violations of the INA if they implement a client’s unlawful discriminatory preferences. Under the INA, employers or recruiters can only limit jobs based on citizenship or immigration status if required by a law, regulation, executive order or government contract. Further, because federal law only allows employers to check a person’s permission to work after they are hired, employers and recruiters must not verify the permission to work of job applicants.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Amtex will pay over $15,000 in civil penalties to the United States, revise its policies and procedures, train relevant employees and agents on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to monitoring for a three-year period to ensure compliance.
IER is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, this law prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status, and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.