As a small or midsize business owner, it is crucial to understand and comply with employment laws to avoid costly penalties and legal issues. Recently, the U.S. Justice Department has taken significant actions against employers who have posted discriminatory job advertisements on college recruiting platforms, emphasizing the importance of fair and inclusive hiring practices.
The HR experts at Asure can review your job postings and hiring processes to ensure 100% compliance with all federal, state, and local laws. The cost is significantly less than hiring your own in-house team. Learn more.
Justice Department’s Efforts and Penalties Imposed
The Justice Department has recently reached settlements with ten companies that utilized a college recruiting platform to post job advertisements that unlawfully excluded non-U.S. citizens. These settlements add to the department’s prior agreements with 20 other companies, resulting in a total civil penalty amount exceeding $1.6 million.
By holding employers accountable for their discriminatory practices, the Justice Department sends a clear message about the enforcement of federal civil rights laws and the importance of equal opportunity in the job market.
The Origins of the Investigation
This series of settlements stemmed from a discrimination complaint filed by a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), who alleged that a bank’s job advertisement on the Georgia Tech recruitment platform restricted the internship opportunity to U.S. citizens only.
The Justice Department’s subsequent investigation uncovered numerous discriminatory advertisements on Georgia Tech’s platform, as well as similar platforms operated by other colleges nationwide.
Discriminatory Advertisements and Consequences
Each of the ten employers involved in the settlements had posted at least one job announcement on Georgia Tech’s recruitment platform that excluded non-U.S. citizens.
These discriminatory advertisements discouraged qualified students from applying and, in some cases, even prevented them from meeting with company recruiters. Recognizing the adverse impact of such restrictions on equal job opportunities, the Justice Department intervened to rectify the situation.
Civil Penalties and Compliance Requirements
In addition to the settlements, the employers are required to pay civil penalties, the amounts of which are determined based on the number of discriminatory advertisements posted. The total penalty amount for the ten employers in question is $464,360. To prevent future violations, the employers’ recruiting staff must undergo training on the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision.
They must also refrain from including specific citizenship or immigration status designations in their campus job postings, unless required by law. Here are a few of the penalties assessed: Asurion LLC: $13,395, Black & Veatch Corporation: $8,930, Deluxe Corporation: $183,065, Freese & Nichols Inc.: $4,465.
Understanding the Immigration and Nationality Act
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) establishes guidelines that prohibit employers and recruiters from discriminating based on citizenship or immigration status, unless mandated by a law, regulation, executive order, or government contract. The INA safeguards the rights of individuals such as asylees, refugees, recent lawful permanent residents, U.S. citizens, and U.S. nationals against citizenship status discrimination in hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee.
The Role of the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section
Enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, the Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance and protecting the rights of individuals.
The IER investigates and takes action against unfair practices, including unfair documentary practices, retaliation, intimidation, and discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin.
Small and midsize business owners must be aware of the penalties associated with violating employment laws, including those in relation to job advertisements. The recent actions taken by the U.S. Justice Department highlight the consequences faced by companies that engage in discriminatory practices.
To avoid such penalties and legal complications, business owners are encouraged to partner with HR companies that can assist in writing job postings that comply with employment laws. By prioritizing fairness and inclusivity in their hiring practices, business owners can stay in compliance and do the right thing for their communities.
Connect with an HR expert to learn more about how Asure can protect your business from costly penalties and investigations.