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Atlanta Employment Law Attorney / Blog / Employment Law / Georgia Tech Pays $500k to Settle Claim Related to Citizenship Discrimination

Georgia Tech Pays $500k to Settle Claim Related to Citizenship Discrimination


The Georgia Institute of Technology was ordered to pay half a million dollars to settle claims related to employment discrimination. According to the Department of Justice complaint, the school recruited workers for U.S. citizen-only jobs and thus discriminated against non-citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. A Georgia Tech student, who is a lawful permanent resident (or green card holder) filed a complaint with the department’s civil rights division. The DOJ launched an investigation based on that complaint.

According to the student’s complaint, the student claimed that a bank advertised a U.S. citizen-only position on the University’s career services website. Upon investigating the complaint, DOJ officials said that they found more “unlawful” or “discriminatory” advertisements on Georgia Tech’s job recruiting platform that discouraged non-U.S. citizens from applying.

The DOJ also found evidence that Georgia Tech regularly allowed employers to block non-U.S. citizens from applying to jobs that were listed on its platform.

Employment discrimination against non-citizens 

It is unlawful for employers with four or more employees to discriminate against non-U.S. citizens when it comes to hiring, firing, or recruiting. In other words, an individual’s immigration status cannot be used against them when it comes to employment authorization. U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, asylum seekers, refugees, and recent permanent residents are protected under the Immigration and Nationality Act. While cases like these are rare, they do happen as evidenced by Georgia Tech’s advertising of positions for U.S. citizens only.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division had this to say about Georgia Tech’s discriminatory advertising:

“Our nation’s higher education institutions must ensure that their job recruiting platforms don’t promote, facilitate, or enable unlawful citizenship discrimination. The Justice Department will vigorously enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act’s nondiscrimination mandate to ensure that college students are treated fairly and have an equal opportunity to compete for internships and jobs.”

In addition to forking over a $500,000 fine, the settlement agreement requires Georgia Tech to modify its recruiting practices and revise policies in order to be in compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on immigration status. In addition to those provisions, certain career services employees will require additional training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision over a three-year period.

In response to the settlement agreement, Georgia Tech released a statement saying that they do not intentionally discriminate against students seeking employment in their career services offerings. They further stated that they cooperated with the investigation that was spearheaded by the DOJ and will make the necessary changes to avoid discriminatory practices in the future.

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The Atlanta employment discrimination attorneys at The Forsythe Law Firm represent the interests of employees and applicants in discrimination lawsuits filed against employers. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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