The Department of Justice today announced that it signed a settlement agreement with SpringShine Consulting, Inc., an IT staffing company based in California. The settlement resolves claims that SpringShine 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.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will ensure that workers are protected from such unlawful discrimination.”
The department opened an investigation after an individual complained about an advertisement that SpringShine posted on a recruiting website inviting applications only from experienced IT consultants who required sponsorship for an employment-based temporary work visa. The advertisement was directed exclusively at workers seeking the company’s H-1B visa sponsorship, with no indication that workers with other citizenship statuses, such as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees or refugees, would also be considered for an employment opportunity. SpringShine claimed that the advertisement was not associated with an offer of employment, but was a recruiting tool to build a pool of qualified consultants to fill its clients’ anticipated future labor needs. Based on its investigation, however, the department concluded that (1) the company offered to sponsor one of the applicants who responded to the posting, (2) the advertisement reflected SpringShine’s preference for H-1B visa workers to fill its staffing needs, and (3) 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 generally allowed to discriminate in recruitment or hiring based on citizenship status.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, SpringShine 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, SpringShine will train employees involved in recruitment and hiring on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute 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.
Learn more about IER’s work and how to get assistance through this brief video. Find more information on how employers can avoid citizenship status discrimination on IER’s website. Applicants or employees who believe they were discriminated against based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, recruitment, or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify); or subjected to retaliation, may file a charge. The public can also call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); email IER@usdoj.gov; sign up for a free webinar; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER. View the Spanish translation of this press release here.