Pleasanton, California - The Department of Justice announced Monday that it signed a settlement agreement with AllianceIT, a provider of IT staffing services based in Pleasanton, California. This is the tenth settlement under the Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary foreign visa workers.
The settlement resolves a claim that AllianceIT discriminated against U.S. workers by posting a job advertisement specifying a preference for “ONLY OPT’s who can work” using a W-2 tax form. Optional Practical Training (OPT) permits foreign students holding an F-1 visa to engage in temporary employment related to the student’s major area of study.
“Companies cannot place U.S. students at a disadvantage for job opportunities by advertising a hiring preference for foreign students with visas,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce the law to ensure that employers are held accountable whenever they discriminate against U.S. students or other U.S. workers because of their citizenship.”
Based on its investigation, the department concluded that AllianceIT posted a job advertisement aimed exclusively at non-U.S. citizens with a specific type of temporary visa. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring by preferring candidates with temporary work visas over U.S. workers. Under the INA, employers cannot discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status or national origin at any stage of their hiring process, including the posting of job advertisements, regardless of whether it affects the final hiring outcome.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, AllianceIT will train its employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, change its policies and procedures to comply with this law, and be subject to two years of department monitoring, including providing regular reports to the department.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) has reached numerous settlements under the Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, and employers have distributed or agreed to pay a combined total of more than $1.2 million in back pay to affected U.S. workers and civil penalties to the United States. These settlements involve employers that discriminated in their use of the H-1B, H-2A, H-2B and F-1 visa programs.
IER is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.