Apple has reached a $25 million settlement following allegations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that the company unlawfully prioritized immigrant workers over U.S. citizens and green card holders for specific positions, as announced by the agency on Thursday.
According to the DOJ statement, Apple was accused of not actively seeking out U.S. citizens or permanent residents for roles eligible for a federal program permitting employers to sponsor immigrant workers for green cards.
This practice was deemed a violation of federal law prohibiting discrimination based on citizenship.
Specifically, the department’s investigation found that Apple did not advertise positions Apple sought to fill through the PERM program on its external job website, even though its standard practice was to post other job positions on this website. It also required all PERM position applicants to mail paper applications, even though the company permitted electronic applications for other positions. In some instances, Apple did not consider certain applications for PERM positions from Apple employees if those applications were submitted electronically, as opposed to paper applications submitted through the mail. These less effective recruitment procedures nearly always resulted in few or no applications to PERM positions from applicants whose permission to work does not expire.
This settlement, the largest ever for citizenship-based discrimination claims, mandates that Apple pay $6.75 million in civil penalties and $18.25 million to an undisclosed number of affected workers.
You can view the Final Agreement here:
While Apple denies any intentional wrongdoing, the company did acknowledge in a statement that it had unintentionally deviated from DOJ standards. The statement affirms Apple’s commitment to complying with various government agencies’ requirements as it continues to expand its workforce in the United States.
The DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Rights section (IER) discovered that Apple, when faced with an employee holding temporary visa status seeking permanent employment, diverged from its usual recruitment procedures. Specifically, Apple failed to advertise permanent job openings eligible for the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) program on its website, as is customary for other positions. Additionally, paper applications were required for these jobs, contrary to the usual electronic submission process.
The department highlighted that these less effective recruitment practices dissuaded U.S. applicants from applying, resulting in minimal mailed applications that Apple considered for PERM-related positions. Consequently, Apple often filled these roles with temporary visa holders.
The DOJ did not specify the affected Apple jobs or detail how the company may have benefited from these recruitment procedures. The violations occurred from January 2018 to the end of 2019, according to the IER.
Recognizing that foreign labor can be more cost-effective, Apple has agreed, as part of the settlement, to align its PERM job recruiting with its standard practices. The company is required to submit a revised draft of its PERM recruitment process within 90 days, aiming to enhance accessibility and transparency and ensuring no discrimination based on citizenship status.
Workers who have questions about this settlement can contact IER at 1-888-473-3897 or [email protected].