In a landmark agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Apple Inc. will pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit for discriminating against job applicants based on their citizenship status. The settlement marks the largest recovered reward in DOJ history under the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Apple is alleged to have discriminatory recruiting practices regarding potential job candidates tied to the federal Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM), which includes American citizens and international workers allowed to work in the United States indefinitely. Specifically, the DOJ claims the company discriminated against American citizens, American nationals, lawful permanent residents, and those granted asylum or refugee status permitted to work in the United States.
According to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, the suit alleges that Apple’s discriminatory practices deterred protected workers from applying for positions. Under PERM, employers can sponsor immigrant workers for lawful permanent resident status once recruitment and other program requirements are met.
A federal investigation into Apple’s hiring practices found that the company violated numerous discrimination laws, specifically not advertising PERM positions on its external job website despite posting other positions. The company further required PERM applicants to submit mailed paper applications instead of the online submission available to all others applying for PERM positions. As a result, very few, if any, applicants applied for PERM positions due to the company’s recruitment practices.
Under the settlement agreement, Apple must pay $6.75 million in civil penalties and $18.25 million to create a fund to backpay eligible victims and revamp its PERM recruitment practices.
Apple is but one technology firm targeted by the DOJ for employment discrimination practices. The agency filed suit against Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite and rocket technology company in August for routinely basing hiring decisions on applicants’ immigration status versus their qualifications.
If you believe you are being discriminated against as an applicant or employee, contact Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.