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How Discriminatory Job Ads Are Costing Companies: New York IT Staffing Company Settles with DOJ Over INA Violations

A settlement has been reached between the United States Department of Justice and Amiga Informatics, a New York IT staffing company. Previously, the Department of Justice determined that Amiga was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when the company posted discriminatory job advertisements, soliciting applications from only certain individuals who held specific citizenship or immigration statuses.

In the announcement released on February 22, 2023, an Assistant Attorney of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke, stated “[t]he Civil Rights Division is committed to knocking down unnecessary barriers that deny people job opportunities.” According to Assistant Attorney Kristen Clarke, “Employers have a responsibility to ensure that their job advertisements and hiring processes do not unlawfully exclude individuals because of their citizenship or immigration status.” The INA’s anti-discrimination provisions are in place to prohibit employers from recruiting or refusing to hire workers based on their citizenship or immigration status.

The Justice Department conducted an investigation into job advertisements posted by Amiga Informatics in 2021 and found that at least six of these advertisements were facially discriminatory. Out of the six advertisements placed by the New York IT staffing company, four sought only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents which deterred applicants with other means of legal work authorization, such as asylees or refugees, from applying for the position and receiving fair consideration for the employment opportunities. The remaining two advertisements were directed only to applicants who had Optional Practical Training status. Optional Practical Training is a program that allows international students who have completed a degree in the United States to work in their field of study for a certain period of time after graduation. As these advertisements sought to hire only students with OPT status, asylees, refugees, lawful permanent residents, U.S. citizens, and other workers with valid work authorization were excluded from applying for the position.

Amiga Informatics, under the terms of the agreement reached with the Department of Justice, is required to pay $24,864.00 in civil penalties to the United States. The agreement further requires Amiga Informatics to engage in training its recruiters in the INA’s requirements and procedures, as well as revising its employment policies. The staffing company may also be subjected to monitoring by the Department of Justice and may be required to report to the department as necessary.

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is responsible for overseeing and enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. These provisions define what is discriminatory conduct under the INA.

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, the following are considered prohibited discriminatory conduct:

  1. Citizenship status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee by employers with four or more employees;
  2. National origin discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee by employers with four to 14 employees;
  3. Unfair documentary practices related to verifying the employment eligibility of employees; and
  4. Retaliation/Intimidation as employers of any size are not allowed to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or retaliate against individuals who have filed charges with or cooperated with the IER.

In order to avoid discrimination when engaging in hiring and recruitment processes, especially when navigating the immigration processes involved, it is best to coordinate with an experienced attorney. For over 25 years, Reddy Neumann Brown PC has focused solely on U.S. employment-based immigration, and works with employers to establish best practices when dealing with PERM based recruitment.

By: Jessica Palarca

Jessica Palarca is an attorney in Reddy Neumann Brown’s PERM Labor Certification Department where she assists clients in the beginning stages of the green card process.

Jessica earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 2009 and was admitted into the Texas bar the same year.  As the child of two immigrant parents, Jessica found her passion for immigration law early in her career.  With over a decade of experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, she brings a different perspective to each case she handles.  Through the years, Jessica has learned that to achieve the best possible results for each individual served, one must keep things simple and provide personalized attention and care to each case.