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IBM pays fine to U.S. in discrimination suit

IBM and the U.S. Dept. of Justice have settled a suit involving the tech company's alleged discriminatory posting of employment ads online, which indicated that F-1 and H-1B visa holders were preferred over other candidates. IBM paid $44,400 in civil penalties as a result of the settlement agreement with the U.S. In addition, the company agreed to revise its recruiting and hiring procedures as well as its training of personnel in human resources to comply with the law.

An IBM spokesperson stated that, since 2009, IBM has posted over 40,000 jobs in the U.S. and overseas. He claimed that the matter concerning preference for particular visa holders included only a small amount of the postings. In addition, those listed were to be permanent positions abroad. However, even though the Justice Department recognized that candidates for those jobs would eventually have to move to other countries, the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act forbids employers to favor foreign workers over U.S. citizens for employment in the states.

H-1B visa policy critics have been saying ads that incorporate coded or overt solicitations for foreign visa workers have been problematic for a long time. Consulting and tech firms are more frequently cited by critics than other types of businesses. iGate Mastech and the DOJ settled a similar suit in 2008 regarding employment discrimination ads that favored H-1B visa holders.

An attorney who is experienced in employment law may be able to help those who believe an employer has discriminated against them. There are many laws to protect workers as far as discrimination is concerned, and a skilled attorney may be able to research the case and identify if an employer has broken any of them. If so, an attorney could serve as a useful tool, as far as requesting compensation is concerned.

Source: Computer World, "IBM settles with U.S. over alleged discrimination in job ads", Patrick Thibodeau, September 30, 2013

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