Apple Inc. settled with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve a case alleging that the tech giant illegally discriminated against American workers and certain non-US citizens, whose permission to live in and work in the country does not expire, in recruitment for positions falling under the permanent labour certification program (PERM).
The PERM program, administered by the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security, allows employers to sponsor workers for lawful permanent resident status in the US if they complete recruitment and meet certain requirements.
Apple is required to pay $25 million to settle the case, $6.7 million in civil penalties and a back pay fund of $18.75 million for eligible victims of discrimination. The settlement amount is the largest ever for the DOJ among cases under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The DOJ’s investigation started in February 2019. It found that Apple engaged in a practice of citizenship status discrimination in recruitment for positions it hired through PERM against prejudiced US citizens, US nationals, lawful permanent residents, and those granted asylum or refugee status.
The iPhone maker didn’t advertise such positions on its website, required all PERM position applicants to mail paper applications, and, in some instances, did not consider certain applications submitted electronically. These less effective recruitment practices made it more difficult for protected workers to apply.
Apple said the PERM process accounted for about 5% of its US workforce and didn’t intentionally violate any laws. It implemented some of these measures after the department opened its investigation. Additionally, it said that it will train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination requirements and be subject to departmental monitoring for the three years of the agreement.
According to the settlement agreement, Apple is required to conduct more expansive recruitment for all PERM positions, ensuring that its recruitment for PERM positions more closely matches its standard recruitment practices and