Staffing firm to pay $900K to resolve DOJ discrimination claim

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Dive Brief:

  • Kforce, a national staffing agency, must pay $900,000 to settle the Department of Justice’s charge of hiring discrimination.
  • The firm, which has dozens of offices across the U.S., discriminated against non-U.S. citizens who had permission to work in the U.S, DOJ alleged. Kforce allegedly violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by barring non-U.S. citizens from job opportunities based on their citizenship status. The firm must pay $690,000 to the U.S. government and $230,000 in damages to the job candidates.
  • Additionally, Kforce must train personnel on anti-discrimination practices and revise employee policies; they must also submit to monitoring by the government.

Dive Insight:

From early 2019 to early 2022, Kforce violated the INA by posting job ads containing unlawful hiring restrictions based on citizenship status and also screened out candidates therein, the Justice Department found. 

The case serves as another reminder for HR: Compliance isn’t just about what happens on the job, but before it, too. The DOJ noted that Kforces’ “actions harmed workers who have been granted asylum or refugee status, and lawful permanent residents” by deterring them from work. 

Discriminating against immigrants is arguably insidious, given the challenges this population faces; labor experts have spoken to HR Dive at length about immigrant workers’ challenges, such as lack of tech access or need for sociocultural coaching. HR experts have also highlighted the importance of skills-based hiring, given international credentials and complicated resumes.

Likewise, speakers at the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2023 Inclusion conference also highlighted the challenges (and opportunities to excel) presented by multilingual workplaces. One of the speakers, who specializes in language upskilling, emphasized that language barriers are never insurmountable.

Beyond compliance regarding job descriptions, consider: A director working at Tent Partnerships for Refugees told HR Dive multilingual job portals are one way employers can go the extra mile to support immigrant talent. 

“The Justice Department will continue to hold those accountable who engage in behavior that runs afoul of our nation’s federal civil rights laws,” Kristen Clarke, DOJ’s assistant attorney general for its Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.