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IBM pays $44,000 over discriminatory job ads

IBM entered into a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over charges that the company had committed job discrimination by favoring visa holders over U.S. citizens. Regardless of whether it is a matter of age discrimination, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, race, ability or other factors, the law forbids discrimination of any kind in hiring .

The company placed online job ads for application and software developers that the U.S. Department of Justice said exhibited a preference for hiring people who held visas. Specifically, the ads included a citizenship status preference for job applicants who held F-1 or H-1B visas. However, the Justice Department said that even if the candidates who got those jobs were eventually required to move overseas, the Immigration and Nationality Act had a provision banning discrimination in employment. Therefore, it was against the law for a company to express a preference for job applicants who were temporary visa holders over U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents for any job opening in the United States.

The representative of an IBM employees group said that the job ads proved that employees were right when they said that systematic discrimination in hiring had been an ongoing practice for years. H-1B critics have long contended that job ads containing overt or coded invitations for foreign visa holders were a problem. One such code word is 'freshers," meaning someone in India who is a recent graduate.

Workplace discrimination is a very real problem that harms millions of Americans. Although there are numerous laws aimed at protecting American workers from discrimination, it still occurs at both large and small companies. An employment law attorney could help people who have been discriminated against at their place of work by guiding their client through the possible legal options available to them.

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

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