Apple has agreed to pay $25 million in backpay and civil penalties to resolve allegations by the Department of Justice that it showed preferential treatment to visa holders while discriminating against US citizens and permanent residents in its hiring practices, as per a statement released on Thursday. This settlement represents the largest amount collected by the DOJ under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The focal point of the matter revolves around the Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM), a federal program managed by the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security. PERM enables US employers to apply for foreign workers on visas to attain permanent US residency. As part of the PERM process, employers must prominently advertise available positions, welcoming applications from individuals regardless of their citizenship status.
The DOJ alleges that Apple violated these regulations by failing to advertise PERM positions on its recruitment website and by imposing additional hurdles for applicants, such as requiring mailed paper applications, a step not applied to regular, non-PERM positions. Consequently, a DOJ investigation determined that Apple received minimal or no applications from US citizens or permanent residents without work visas for these positions.
Under the terms of the settlement, Apple will pay $6.75 million in civil penalties and establish an $18.25 million fund to compensate eligible victims of discrimination, according to the DOJ’s statement.
In response, Apple contested the DOJ’s portrayal of the situation, with a company spokesperson telling CNBC, “Apple proudly employs more than 90,000 people in the United States and continues to invest nationwide, creating millions of jobs. When we realized we had unintentionally not been following the DOJ standard, we agreed to a settlement addressing their concerns. We have implemented a robust remediation plan to comply with the requirements of various government agencies as we continue to hire American workers and grow in the US.”