Apple has agreed to pay up to $25 million to settle claims alleging employment discrimination. The U.S. Department of Justice revealed that $18.25 million will be allocated to establish a late payment fund for affected victims, while the remaining $6.75 million will be designated for civil penalties, according to a report by The Verge.
The Justice Department found that Apple violated the Immigration and Nationality Act in its hiring practices through the Permanent Employment Certification Program (PERM), which allows companies to permanently employ foreign workers in the United States.
During the hiring process for this program, the Justice Department stated that Apple did not announce job vacancies on its website, despite its customary practice of posting other job positions on the site.
Furthermore, the Justice Department found that Apple only accepted PERM job applications via mail and "did not adjudicate certain electronically-submitted applications." The Justice Department noted, "These less effective hiring practices have consistently resulted in few or no applications or in no applications at all to fill PERM positions from applicants whose work authorization did not expire."
Apple denies any involvement in unlawful hiring practices in the settlement terms. Fred Sainz, a spokesperson for Apple, stated in an email sent to The Verge, "When we realized we inadvertently did not follow DOJ guidelines, we agreed to a settlement to address their concerns, and we've already put in place an entirely new recruitment plan to ensure compliance with various government agency requirements as we continue to hire American workers and grow in the U.S."
In addition to the fine of up to $25 million, the Justice Department also requires Apple to "conduct more expansive PERM recruitment" by posting PERM job openings on its recruitment website and accepting digital applications. The Justice Department noted that Apple has already addressed some of these issues.
Aside from Apple, the Justice Department has also filed a discrimination lawsuit against Elon Musk's SpaceX, alleging that the company discriminated in hiring by refusing to employ asylum seekers and refugees. However, SpaceX has managed to block the case, claiming that the overseeing administrative judges were "unconstitutionally appointed."