Apple reached a $25m settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over allegations that the company favoured immigrant workers over US citizens, according to an official statement from the DOJ.
The DOJ asserted that Apple violated federal law, which prohibits discrimination based on citizenship. The case marks the largest ever settlement involving claims of discrimination based on citizenship for the DOJ.
As part of the agreement, Apple will pay $6.75m in civil penalties and an additional $18.25m to a select number of affected workers.
In response to the settlement, Apple issued a statement acknowledging its failure to adhere to DOJ standards, describing the oversight as unintentional.
The company outlined its commitment to rectify the situation, stating: “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.”
According to the DOJ, Apple neglected to advertise job openings eligible for the permanent labour certification program (PERM) on its website, a practice typically followed for other positions.
The company required applicants for these positions to submit paper applications, deviating from its usual acceptance of electronic applications.
The DOJ pointed out that these less effective recruitment procedures led to minimal or no applications for PERM positions from individuals whose work permissions do not expire.
While the specific Apple jobs affected by these recruitment procedures were not detailed by the DOJ, the agency did highlight the potential advantages for the company.
Foreign labour is often perceived as cost-effective compared to hiring US workers, and immigrants relying on employer-sponsored green card sponsorship are considered less likely to switch jobs.
Apart from the monetary settlement, Apple has committed to aligning its recruiting practices for PERM jobs with its standard procedures. The company is obligated to conduct more expansive recruitment efforts and provide training for employees on anti-discrimination laws, as outlined in the settlement agreement.
Big Tech is in the midst of a mass axing of jobs, yet Apple has bucked the trend through increased hiring for artificial intelligence (AI) roles.
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