Apple Inc. agreed to pay $25 million to settle a Department of Justice case alleging that the iPhone maker illegally discriminated against US citizens in hiring.
The department said in a statement Thursday that Apple showed bias against US workers as part of recruitment for PERM, the permanent labor certification program. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant didn’t advertise such positions on its website and made it more difficult for workers to apply for the jobs, the DOJ said.
Apple required job seekers to apply via paper mail and didn’t allow electronic submission, as it does for other openings, according to the department. That made it harder for people outside the PERM program to get hired, the department said.
The PERM program is designed to let companies sponsor foreign workers for permanent resident status, but it stipulates that employers can’t show a bias against applicants who may be citizens or already have permission to work in the US.
Apple’s approach “nearly always resulted in few or no applications to PERM positions” from those kinds of candidates, according to the department. The $25 million payment includes $18.25 million in back pay for those discriminated against and $6.75 million in fines.
“Creating unlawful barriers that make it harder for someone to seek a job because of their citizenship status will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the department’s Civil Rights Division.
Apple said that “when we realized we had unintentionally not been following the DOJ standard, we agreed to a settlement addressing their concerns.” The company added that it “implemented a robust remediation plan to comply with the requirements of various government agencies as we continue to hire American workers and grow in the US.”
Ninety percent of Apple’s US positions are filled by American workers, the company said.