By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, has signed a settlement agreement with AllianceIT, a provider of IT staffing services based in Pleasanton, California. This is the tenth 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 foreign visa workers.

The settlement resolves a claim that AllianceIT discriminated against U.S. workers by posting a job advertisement specifying a preference for “ONLY OPT’s who can work” using a W-2 tax form. Optional Practical Training (OPT) permits foreign students holding an F-1 visa to engage in temporary employment related to the student’s major area of study.

Based on its investigation, the IER concluded AllianceIT posted the job advertisement aimed exclusively at non-U.S. citizens with a specific type of temporary visa. 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.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, AllianceIT will 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