Katy, Texas - The Department of Justice announced Monday that it reached a settlement with Igloo Products Corp., a company that produces coolers, jugs and hydration products, based in Katy, Texas. The settlement resolves the department’s claims that Igloo did not consider workers in the United States (such as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees and recent lawful permanent residents) for certain jobs because the company set aside those positions for workers on temporary work visas.
The department’s investigation concluded that Igloo failed to consider applicants in the United States for seasonal production helper positions because the company assumed that U.S. workers would not be interested in temporary seasonal employment. Instead, Igloo reserved its seasonal production helper positions for workers with H-2B visas based on their immigration status. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers generally cannot discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status or national origin at any stage of the hiring process. In addition, the Department of Labor requires employers seeking permission to hire H-2B workers to first hire all qualified and available U.S. workers who apply by the relevant deadline.
“Employers cannot favor workers on temporary visas and ignore applications from qualified U.S. workers because of assumptions based on citizenship or immigration status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will not tolerate unlawful employment discrimination and is committed to holding violators accountable.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Igloo will pay $21,000 in civil penalties to the United States and will make $40,000 in back pay available to eligible discrimination victims. Igloo will also change its policies and procedures to comply with the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, train its employees on the requirements of the law, undertake additional recruitment efforts before seeking H-2B visas in the future, and be subject to monitoring for a three-year period to ensure the company is complying with the agreement.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.