The U.S. Justice Department announced in late August 2018 that it had reached a settlement with a U.S. law firm for violations of the unfair immigration-related employment practices provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. section 1324b).
According to the settlement agreement [PDF 97 KB], the matter concerned the law firm’s citizenship-related restriction for hiring only U.S. citizens to work on a project involving data controlled under the jurisdiction of the U.S. State Department. The law firm was attempting in good faith to comply with the data access restrictions contained in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which restrict disclosure of ITAR-controlled material to a non “U.S. person.”
According to the settlement agreement, the relevant rules (22 C.F.R. 120.15) allow U.S persons to have access to ITAR-controlled data if they are permanent residents or protected individuals (as defined by INA section 1324b(a)(3), which includes U.S. citizens or nationals, refugees, and “asylees” (asylum seekers)).
The settlement agreement explains that there is no good faith exception to the general prohibition against discriminating on the basis of citizenship status or national origin. The Justice Department’s Immigration and Employee Rights (IER) section determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the law firm violated the rules by discriminating against non-U.S. citizens who may have met the above criteria from working on the ITAR project.
Under the settlement agreement, the law firm is required to pay a penalty of $132,000, to compensate injured parties, revise its policies, and comply with other IER requirements.
For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:
John L. McLoughlin
Luis (Lou) Abad
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