(STL.News) The Justice Department today announced that it signed a settlement agreement with Ikon Systems, LLC (Ikon), an IT staffing and recruiting company based in Texas.
This is the eleventh settlement by the Civil Rights Division under its 2017 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. Today’s settlement resolves claims that Ikon routinely discriminated against U.S. workers by posting job advertisements specifying a preference for applicants with temporary work visas, and that Ikon failed to consider at least one U.S. citizen applicant who applied to a discriminatory advertisement.
“Employers, no matter their size and no matter their industry, cannot limit employment opportunities only to temporary visa holders. When employers post job advertisements that discriminate against U.S. workers, they violate the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) citizenship-status discrimination provision,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Our message is clear: if employers discriminate in advertising, recruiting, or hiring against U.S. workers by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will act to protect them under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) has reached 11 settlements under the Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, and employers have agreed to pay or have distributed a combined total of more than $1.2 million in back pay to affected U.S. workers and civil penalties to the United States.
These settlements involve employers that discriminated in their use of the H-1B, H-2A, H-2B and F-1 visa programs. In addition, the department is currently litigating a U.S. Workers Initiative case, which involves a Dec. 3, 2020 lawsuit filed against a major technology company for allegedly refusing to recruit, consider, or hire qualified and available U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa holders, including in the H‑1B visa program.
IER is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.