In the first half of 2006, the Programmers Guild, an IT worker interest group, filed 300 discrimination complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice against employers who had posted “H-1B visa holders only” ads on job boards.
Two years later, it appears that in at least one case, the group’s work has paid off. The Department of Justice announced May 1 that it has fined iGate Mastech, a Pittsburgh computer consulting company, $45,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations that it had discriminated against U.S. workers in its hiring practices, actively seeking to hire H-1B visa holders only.
Three different iGate ads shared with eWEEK by the Programmer’s Guild for Java developer openings–one 5/30/06 and two dated 6/13/06–stated that the company is “only looking for H-1B visas and should be willing to transfer.” According to the DOJ, there were 30 more posted between May 9 and June 4, 2006, that “expressly favored H-1B visa holders to the exclusion of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and other legal U.S. workers.”
Such preference constituted citizenship status discrimination and is prohibited by the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The Programmers Guild says that this fine is “probably the most visible result of [our] campaign against companies that discriminate, and so far we’ve only paid attention to the flagrant violators.”
The Guild says that it is only scratching the surface of brazen companies such as iGate right now, and its list doesn’t even include those that only hire H-1B workers but word their ads more carefully, as well as companies that use preferred vendor lists to ensure their contract hires only come from companies providing H-1B workers.