By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with Palmetto Beach Hospitality LLC, a company that provides housekeeping services to hotels in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area.

The investigation determined Palmetto Beach Hospitality failed to consider applications from qualified U.S. workers for its housekeeper positions, even though employers are required to recruit and hire available and qualified U.S. workers before they receive permission to hire temporary foreign workers under the H-2B visa program. After ignoring applications from U.S. workers, Palmetto Beach Hospitality represented to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that it could not find qualified U.S. workers and obtained authorization to employ temporary visa workers.

Failing to consider or hire qualified U.S. workers based on their citizenship status violates the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), regardless of whether an employer has complied with other rules governing the use of temporary employment-based visa programs.

Under the settlement, Palmetto Beach Hospitality must engage in several types of enhanced recruiting and job advertising efforts to attract qualified U.S. workers, beyond those required by the H-2B visa rules. Palmetto Beach Hospitality also must set aside $35,000 to pay any wages lost by U.S. workers whose applications it improperly rejected or ignored, pay $42,000 in civil penalties to the United States, shall review its employment policies and revise such policies to prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship, immigration status and national origin in the recruitment, hiring and firing processes, HR personnel must attend an IER employer webinar presentation, and be subject to departmental monitoring for three years.

If you want to know more information on issues related to employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at