A Cautionary Tale: IER Settles After Investigating Unlawful Discrimination Against U.S. Citizen During PERM Recruitment
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
IER Reaches Settlement in Hiring Discrimination Claim

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached another settlement with a company in Boise, Idaho, over allegations that it violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by unlawfully discriminating against a U.S. citizen when it failed to hire him for a position and instead hired a temporary visa worker. The alleged discrimination occurred in the context of recruitment undergone for the purposes of a PERM application. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) initiated its investigation after a U.S. citizen complained that the company denied him employment because of citizenship status.

Under the settlement, the company will pay a civil penalty to the United States and provide back pay totaling $85,000 to the affected worker. The company will also undergo training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, revise its policies and procedures, including regarding PERM recruitment, and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years. See the IER Press Release.

This settlement serves as a reminder that employers should ensure their recruitment practices comply with the INA and other relevant laws and regulations. Employers must provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified candidates and avoid making assumptions about an applicant’s immigration status. Employers should seek legal guidance and conduct regular audits of their employment records to prevent discrimination and ensure compliance.

During the Trump Administration, the IER shifted its focus to include U.S. citizens, who are also protected under the INA. This settlement is one of many actions taken by the DOJ to enforce these anti-discrimination laws and protect U.S. workers from discrimination based on their citizenship or immigration status.