Two years ago it was a large tech company and now a second tech giant has entered into settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) over concerns related to their Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) recruitment practices. These settlements demonstrate the need for employers to consider anti-discrimination and PERM regulations when developing PERM recruitment strategies.

In October 2021, the IER reached a settlement agreement with a large tech company, addressing alleged discriminatory practices in recruitment conducted for purposes of PERM applications. The company's extraordinary volume of 2,600 PERM applications filed over 20 months revealed significant disparities between the number of applicants for PERM and non-PERM positions. Additionally, IER contended the company was showing a preference for foreign national employees in the PERM recruitment process. Key settlement terms included the company agreeing to bring its PERM recruiting practices more in line with its non-PERM recruiting methods and comprehensive training for recruiting staff to ensure compliance with good faith recruiting standards. The company agreed to pay $4.75 million in civil penalties and it established a $9.5 million settlement fund to compensate applicants who experienced discriminatory treatment.

Another large tech company recently reached a settlement agreement with IER to resolve a 2019 investigation into alleged discriminatory PERM recruitment and hiring practices. IER said its investigation revealed a pattern of favoring temporary visa holders over qualified U.S. applicants. As a result of the settlement, the company agreed to pay $25 million in civil penalties and back pay to individuals adversely affected by the discriminatory PERM practices. The company will be subject to three years of supervised PERM recruitment and also committed to implementing a non-discriminatory PERM recruitment policy and training for employees involved in recruiting or hiring to ensure compliance.

These IER settlements underscore the importance of anti-discrimination regulations in the context of recruitment. In particular, the substantial penalties serve as a clear reminder of aligning PERM and non-PERM recruiting activities. These investigations also serve as an important reminder of IER's focus on employers' recruitment and hiring practices. It is crucial for all employers to continually reassess their policies and procedures to ensure compliance.

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