May 28, 2024

In a landmark settlement, tech giant Apple Inc. has agreed to pay $25 million to resolve allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging that Apple violated the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The DOJ claimed that the company exhibited preferential treatment towards immigrant workers over U.S. citizens and green card holders for specific job positions. 

The DOJ contends that Apple violated federal law, which prohibits discrimination based on citizenship in hiring practices.

Largest Settlement in DOJ History for Citizenship-Based Discrimination  

The $25 million settlement is the largest ever reached by the DOJ in cases involving claims of discrimination based on citizenship. Out of this amount, $6.75 million will be paid in civil penalties, while the remaining $18.25 million will be allocated to an unspecified number of affected workers.

According to a Reuters report, Apple responded to the settlement, acknowledging that it had “unintentionally not been following the DOJ standard.” The company assured that it has implemented a comprehensive remediation plan to comply with the requirements of various government agencies. 

The company also emphasized its commitment to hiring American workers and supporting growth in the U.S. According to the DOJ statement, Apple failed to recruit U.S. citizens or permanent residents for positions eligible for the federal Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) program. 

The company allegedly did not advertise such job openings on its website, as is customary for other positions. Additionally, Apple required applicants for these jobs to submit paper applications, contrary to its usual practice of accepting electronic applications.

The DOJ asserted that these less effective recruitment procedures resulted in limited applications for PERM positions from candidates whose work authorization does not expire. 

The Department did not specify which Apple jobs were affected or how the company might have benefited from these recruitment procedures.

Addressing Recruitment Practices and Training

As part of the settlement, Apple has committed to align its recruitment for PERM jobs with its standard practices. The company will undergo changes in recruitment procedures, ensuring broader outreach for eligible positions. 

Furthermore, Apple will conduct training sessions for its employees to enhance awareness of anti-discrimination laws. The settlement highlights the potential cost of favoring immigrant workers over U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The settlement is a significant victory for the DOJ and for US workers. 

The settlement also provides compensation to workers who were harmed by Apple’s discriminatory practices. Apple’s agreement to rectify its recruitment procedures signals a commitment to compliance with federal laws and fostering a diverse workforce.

This settlement serves as a reminder to companies to review their hiring practices carefully, especially concerning immigrant workers. It also highlights the need for strict adherence to anti-discrimination laws to ensure equal opportunities for all applicants.

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