Apple agrees to $25 million DOJ settlement for alleged discrimination against US workers

Dive Brief:

  • Apple Inc. agreed to pay $25 million in back pay and civil penalties to settle allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice that the company discriminated against U.S. citizens in hiring for positions that could fall under the federal permanent labor certification (PERM) program, DOJ said in a news release Thursday. 
  • The settlement is the largest the department has secured under the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision, DOJ said. Apple could not immediately be reached for comment. 
  • “Creating unlawful barriers that make it harder for someone to seek a job because of their citizenship status will not be tolerated,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “This resolution reflects the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to ending illegal discriminatory employment practices.”

Dive Insight:

Under the PERM program, employers can sponsor immigrant workers to obtain green cards but those who use the program can’t discriminate in hiring based on citizenship or immigration status, DOJ said. 

DOJ’s investigation found Apple didn’t post jobs it wanted to fill through PERM on its external job website, which the company typically does for other roles, and required all candidates to mail in their applications, despite permitting electronic submission for other positions. “These less effective recruitment practices deterred protected workers from applying to positions that Apple preferred to fill instead with PERM beneficiaries,” DOJ said. 

DOJ previously targeted Facebook for favoring PERM hires over U.S. applicants. At the time, DOJ issued a warning: “Our message to all employers — including those in the technology sector — is clear: you cannot illegally prefer to recruit, consider or hire temporary visa holders over U.S. workers.”

Facebook agreed in an October 2021 settlement with DOJ to pay a $4.75 million civil penalty to the U.S. and up to $9.5 million to candidates affected by the alleged discrimination.