This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
On November 9, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a landmark agreement with Apple Inc. (Apple) to resolve allegations that the company illegally discriminated in hiring and recruitment against U.S. citizens and certain non-U.S. citizens whose permission to live in and work in the United States does not expire.
Under the agreement, Apple must pay up to $25 million in back pay and civil penalties, which DOJ said was the largest award that it has ever recovered under the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The settlement agreement relates to Apple’s recruitment for positions falling under the permanent labor certification program (PERM). Specifically, DOJ's investigation found that Apple did not advertise positions it sought to fill through the PERM program on its external job website, even though its standard practice was to post other job positions on that 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 instead of being mailed in on paper. DOJ said that 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."
Pursuant to the $25 million agreement, Apple must pay $6.75 million in civil penalties and establish an $18.25 million back pay fund for eligible discrimination victims. The agreement also requires Apple to ensure that its recruitment for PERM positions more closely matches its standard recruitment practices. Under the agreement, Apple must conduct more expansive recruitment for all PERM positions, including posting PERM positions on its external job website, accepting electronic applications, and enabling applicants for PERM positions to be searchable in its applicant tracking system. DOJ said that Apple implemented some of these measures after the agency opened its investigation. Additionally, Apple must train its employees on the INA's antidiscrimination requirements and be subject to departmental monitoring for the three-year period of the agreement.