By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Department has reached a settlement agreement with ASTA CRS Inc., a provider of IT staffing and consulting services with offices in Virginia and Maryland. The settlement resolves a claim that ASTA’s Maryland office discriminated against U.S. workers because of their citizenship status when it posted a job advertisement specifying a preference for non-U.S. citizens who held temporary work visas.

Based on its investigation of ASTA, the IER concluded ASTA’s Maryland office posted a job advertisement aimed exclusively at non-U.S. citizens with certain temporary visas, including H-1B visas and F-1 student visas. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring by preferring candidates with temporary work visas over U.S. workers. Under the INA, employers cannot discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status or national origin at any stage of their hiring process, including the posting of job advertisements, regardless of whether it affects the final hiring outcome.

This is the ninth settlement under the Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa workers, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B and F-1. In these settlements, employers have distributed or agreed to pay a combined total of more than $1.2 million in back pay to affected U.S. workers and civil penalties to the United States.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, ASTA will remove the advertisements on all third-party websites, train its employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, change its policies and procedures to comply with this law, and be subject to two years of department monitoring requirements, including providing regular reports to the department.

If you want to know more about issues of immigration status discrimination, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.