2022Form I-9

Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn

On June 23, 2022, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had signed a settlement agreement with an Information Technology (IT) staffing company based in California to resolve claims that the company discriminated against U.S. workers based on their citizenship status when it solicited applications for employment opportunities only from those seeking sponsorship for temporary work visas.  

The DOJ opened an investigation after an individual complained about an advertisement the staffing company posted on a recruiting website inviting applications only from IT consultants who required sponsorship for an employment-based temporary work visa. The ad was directed exclusively at workers seeking the company’s H-1B visa sponsorship, with no indication that workers with other citizenship statuses would be considered.

The DOJ concluded the company offered to sponsor one of the applicants who responded to the posting, the ad reflected a preference for H-1B visa workers to fill staffing needs, and the posting harmed U.S. workers by unlawfully deterring many of them from applying for consideration. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers are not allowed to discriminate in recruitment or hiring based on citizenship status.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the IT staffing company will pay $17,000 in civil penalties to the United States and ensure that its employment advertisements and hiring practices do not include or implement any unlawful preference for applicants with a particular citizenship or immigration status. Additionally, the company will train employees involved in recruitment and hiring on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

“Employers that discourage applicants based on their citizenship or immigration status, or save certain employment opportunities only for applicants who require sponsorship to work in the United States, violate the law and must be held accountable,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division stated in a press release from the DOJ about the settlement.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation. To find out how employers can avoid citizenship status discrimination, visit IER’s website.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar, a leading HR-technology company specializing in background, drug, and health screening for employment – provides a robust Form I-9 and E-Verify solution that simplifies the process for employers to verify work status and electronically capture required information without redundant data entry. To learn more, contact ESR today.

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