As a small or midsize business owner, it is crucial to understand and comply with employment laws to protect your business from penalties and legal repercussions. A recent settlement agreement between the Justice Department and an IT recruiting and contracting company operating in New Jersey, sheds light on the consequences of violating immigration-related discrimination laws.




This article aims to inform small and midsize business owners about the penalties associated with breaking employment laws and specifically addresses discrimination based on immigration status.

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Case Background

The Justice Department announced a settlement agreement with the recruiting and contracting company, resolving the department’s determination that the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The violations stemmed from the posting of six discriminatory job advertisements that targeted non-U.S. citizens who required visa sponsorship. One advertisement even specifically sought applicants exclusively from India.

The Impact of Discrimination

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke emphasized that employers who limit job advertisements to applicants from specific countries or those in need of temporary visas prevent other eligible workers from applying and unfairly restrict their opportunities. Such discriminatory practices based on national origin or citizenship status undermine equal opportunities in the workplace.

Violations of Anti-Discrimination Provisions

The investigation revealed that between July 2021 and August 2021, the recruiting and contracting company, posted job advertisements that exclusively targeted individuals seeking visa sponsorship or those with employment-based temporary visas. By doing so, the company discouraged workers with valid permission to work in the United States without sponsorship, including asylees, refugees, lawful permanent residents, U.S. nationals, and U.S. citizens, from applying. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from recruiting or refusing to hire individuals based on their citizenship status or national origin.

Settlement and Penalties

To resolve the discrimination claims, the recruiting and contracting company, agreed to pay $25,500 in civil penalties to the United States. Furthermore, the settlement mandates that the company train its recruiters on the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Provisions

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Civil Rights Division is responsible for enforcing the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. The statute covers a range of employment practices, including hiring, firing, recruitment, and referral for a fee. It also addresses unfair documentary practices, retaliation, and intimidation.

Compliance and Best Practices

To ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and avoid penalties, small and midsize business owners should consider implementing the following best practices:

Review job advertisements and hiring practices

Avoid discriminatory language or requirements that exclude individuals based on their national origin or citizenship status.

Provide training and education

Educate employees, particularly recruiters and hiring managers, about the laws and regulations surrounding anti-discrimination provisions.

Revise employment policies

Regularly review and update policies to ensure they align with anti-discrimination laws and provide equal opportunities for all applicants and employees.

Seek legal guidance if unsure

If unsure about any aspect of immigration-related discrimination or employment laws, consult with an employment attorney, reach out to relevant government agencies for clarification, or speak with the HR experts here at Asure.


Understanding and complying with employment laws, especially those related to immigration-related discrimination, is essential for small and midsize business owners. The settlement agreement reached between the Justice Department and the recruiting and contracting company, serves as a reminder of the penalties and obligations associated with violating these laws.

By promoting fair and inclusive hiring practices, businesses can foster a diverse workforce while avoiding legal disputes and reputational damage.

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