DOJ settles H-1B job ad case for $45,000

Complaint filed by Programmers Guild over H-1B-only job ad

A Pittsburgh-based computer consulting company that advertised for H-1B visa holders only is paying $45,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations that it discriminated against U.S. citizens, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

The company, iGate Mastech Inc., placed 30 job announcements between May and June of 2006 "for computer programmers that expressly favored H-1B visa holders to the exclusion of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and other legal U.S. workers," the DOJ said in a statement.

A complaint against iGate Mastech was filed by the Programmers Guild in 2006. It was one of dozens of complaints lodged by the Summit, N.J.-based organization against various companies.

John Miano, who founded the guild, said in a statement that the DOJ's announcement was "is probably the most visible result" of the guild's campaign against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers "in favor of cheap H-1B workers."

One job advertisement by iGate Mastech for a Java developer on Dice Holdings Inc.'s job board said "Only H-1s apply, and should be willing to transfer H-1B."

"The problem of companies only looking for H-1B workers is a serious one," said Miano. "We are only scratching the surface right now with the companies that are brazen enough to put out ads like these."

Grace Chung Becker, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that the agency is "committed to protecting the right of all authorized workers in the U.S. against citizenship status discrimination."

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in the Civil Rights Division, which investigated the complaint, continues to monitor iGate to ensure compliance with the settlement agreement, the DOJ said.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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