Apple Inc. has resolved its substantial dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), agreeing to a $25 million payment to settle accusations of discriminatory hiring practices.
The company was accused of preferential treatment towards immigrant workers over U.S. citizens and permanent residents in specific job positions. This settlement marks the DOJ's most substantial amount ever obtained in cases concerning claims of citizenship discrimination.
According to the terms of the agreement, Apple is set to pay $6.75 million in civil penalties and establish an $18.25 million fund for back pay for eligible individuals who were identified as victims of discriminatory hiring practices. The allegations centered around Apple's utilization of the Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM), a federal initiative enabling U.S. companies to sponsor immigrant workers for permanent residency under specific conditions.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) contended that Apple's hiring practices for PERM-related positions did not comply with federal law requirements. Specifically, the DOJ highlighted the company's failure to advertise these roles on its external website and the insistence on mailed paper applications. According to the DOJ, these methods discouraged U.S. job seekers, resulting in a preference for immigrant workers on temporary visas for permanent positions, often occupied by international graduates from U.S. universities.
As stated by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division “Creating unlawful barriers that make it harder for someone to seek a job because of their citizenship status will not be tolerated” “This resolution reflects the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to ending illegal discriminatory employment practices.”
As a component of the settlement, Apple has also agreed to conduct more expansive recruitment procedures for PERM jobs to bring them in line with the standard practices employed for other positions.
Furthermore, as part of its remediation plan, the company will provide biannual reports to the DOJ, detailing PERM hires and applicants.