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  • Writer's pictureMira Mdivani, Mdivani Business Immigration Lawyer

$910,000 Mistake: DOJ Pursues Employer for Restricting Job Postings and Recruitment to Exclude Candidates Based on Citizenship Status


U.S. Department of Justice has been going after employers who use language such as "US citizens only" or "Do you now or in the future need a work visa" in their job postings because DOJ finds that this and similar language violates provisions of Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibiting citizenship status discrimination. It recently secured multi-million dollar settlements against Georgia Tech and 30 major U.S. employers who used Georgia Tech's job posting website to advertise their open positions because the website language and structure discouraged employment-authorized candidates from applying for posted jobs.

"We Look On the Internet"

In June of 2024, I attended the annual conference for American Immigration Lawyers Association, where DOJ officials confirmed that they will continue to pursue employers for similar violations. When asked how they decide who to target, the DOJ official on the panel said, "We look on the Internet"

Biggest Single Employer Cost to Date: $910,000 Plus Legal Fees

In view of this, let's revisit an earlier case from 2023 that lays the blueprint for what kind of violations DOJ is looking for.

On November 15, 2023, DOJ announced that it "... has secured a settlement agreement with Kforce Inc. (Kforce), a staffing agency with 36 offices across the United States. The agreement resolves the department’s determination that Kforce violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against non-U.S. citizens with permission to work in the United States and excluding them from job opportunities based on their citizenship status. 

“Companies cannot unlawfully exclude people with permission to work in the United States from job opportunities because of their citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to hold those accountable who engage in behavior that runs afoul of our nation’s federal civil rights laws.”  

Investigated for Three Years

Unbeknown to KForce, DOJ had investigated them for three years before proceeding with the case against KForce. Per DOJ, "The department’s investigation determined that from at least March 1, 2019, to Feb. 28, 2022, Kforce distributed job advertisements that contained unlawful hiring restrictions based on citizenship status or otherwise screened out candidates based on their citizenship status. These actions harmed workers who have been granted asylum or refugee status, and lawful permanent residents by unlawfully deterring them from applying to the job advertisements and failing to meaningfully consider those who did apply.  Under the terms of the settlement, Kforce will pay $690,000 in civil penalties to the United States and set aside $230,000 to compensate affected workers. The agreement also requires Kforce to train its personnel on the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements."

What does it mean for other unsuspecting employers who routinely (against advise or their business immigration counsel) use similar language in their ads?

To prevent possibly violations, employers should act on the following compliance items:

  1. Train your HR professionals on the INA’s requirements;

  2. Revise your employment policies; and

  3. Audit and revise, if needed, your current job posting for any prohibited language before DOJ "looks on the Internet" for them.

Business Immigration Lawyer


The information on this website is for general information purposes only, it is not legal advice applicable to a specific situation.  Viewing it does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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