There Must Be a Blue Moon Shining – DOJ Unit Actually Helps Citizens!

By David North, February 25, 2013

A small bit of the Justice Department — the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) — has, totally out of character, actually moved to discourage employment bias against U.S. citizens!

This entity usually spends its energies beating up on employers who are a little too vigorous in their efforts not to hire illegal aliens, but this time it has issued a press release saying it found a Florida employment agency that had violated the law:

Hundreds of Avant Healthcare Professionals' Internet-based job postings contained discriminatory language, impermissibly preferring foreign-trained individuals seeking permanent residence or H-1B visa sponsorship over U.S. workers.

In other words, Avant actively discriminated against citizens and green card holders; it wanted to hire either green card applicants or semi-indentured nonimmigrant workers, presumably because they are cheaper or more docile than citizens. That practice is all too common among some employment agencies, but it is rarely noticed by the government.

Modified rapture, however, is the appropriate reaction, for two reasons:

  1. The financial penalty is minuscule, and spread over time; and

  2. The facts of the case, beyond what I have mentioned, will remain a state secret because OSC has made a private settlement with Avant.

Avant's visually attractive website and the fact that it had posted "hundreds" of the discriminatory advertisements both suggest a multi-million dollar operation, but its civil penalty will be $27,750 and it will be allowed to stay in business; there will be no compensation for any of the citizens who did not get jobs because of the postings. Avant has agreed to train its staff not to behave in the future like it did in the past.

Not only is $27,750 no more than a slap on the wrist, the payment schedule is quite relaxed, according to the fine print of the settlement agreement. Avant will pay $9,250 shortly after the settlement, another $9,250 90 days later, and the final payment 180 days after the settlement. My question is, will the $27,750 be regarded as a business expense on Avant's corporate tax return?

Also a downer is the fact that none of the specifics will be described in court. By opting for a settlement — and this is not unusual — the government gets to show a little spunk, but at the huge cost of non-disclosure of what it learned in what appears to have been an almost six-month investigation.

This feeble and unusual enforcement action should be borne in mind as Big Business pushes aggressively for more nonimmigrant workers, always assuring us that preference will be given to American workers. Sure.

For more on the operations of OSC, see this 2011 blog.