Avant Healthcare settles discrimination complaint with DOJ

Screen_Shot_2013-02-10_at_1.51.35_PM.pngThis is one of 100 openly discriminatory want ads posted by Avant Healthcare seeking foreign citizens in the US.  Now you can understand why the DOJ went after this American company.

Below is press coverage by the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) Feb. 8, 2013— The Justice Department and Avant Healthcare Professionals LLC have resolved allegations that the company posted discriminatory job advertisements on the Internet.

The government says hundreds of job postings by the health care staffing company based in Casselberry, Fla., contained language impermissibly preferring foreign-trained individuals seeking permanent residence or H-1B visa sponsorship over U.S. workers.

The Immigration and Nationality Act bars employers from discriminating on the basis of citizenship or immigration status unless required by law, regulation or government contract. None of those limited exceptions applied to Avant's recruitment efforts.

Avant has agreed to pay $27,750 in civil penalties, adhere to the law's anti-discrimination protections and undergo monitoring requirements for three years.

BFJ comments on the impact of "monitoring"
For 3 years, the DOJ can conduct random audits on Avant Healthcare, inspect their offices, interview witnesses and examine business documents, and compel them to produce compliance reports. If they don't behave, the DOJ will determine they are in violation.  Also, the DOJ will still investigate any discriminatory complaints logged against them.

This monitoring agreement will probably prevent many companies from entering into contracts with Avant Healthcare while they are in "re-hab".   Many companies have strict policies of rejecting sub-contractors that have lawsuits pending or special government monitoring.

If you were this company, would you rather pay a much larger fine to avoid 3 years of monitoring?  Have you ever worked for a company which was monitored by the DOJ?  Any lawyers reading this can also explain what this monitoring means.

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  • bob cat
    commented 2013-11-06 20:25:37 -0600
    TY :)
  • Ken Wasetis
    commented 2013-02-18 16:32:40 -0600
    Thanks a lot. Because I didn’t read an explicit ‘preference’ in the ad, I didn’t see what was illegal about it. I wasn’t aware of 1990 H1-b law, evidently, as IANAL. Thanks for the great work! I’ll keep on the look-out for bad ads and report back, when I see them.
  • Donna Conroy, Director
    commented 2013-02-18 15:58:59 -0600
    Ken, you actually almost answered your own question by stating, “Avant’s overt enticement to lure visa workers for local U.S. jobs”. So DOJ busted them because it is an overt enticement to visa workers. Immigration laws says companies can’t prefer visa workers over US citizens.

    But I’ll answer another question. We have contradictory laws at the moment. So EEO says you can’t discriminate against national origin. And the 1986 immigration law says you can’t discriminate against US citizens. However, the 1990 H1-b law never supported the above 2 laws by requiring employers to seek and hire American talent first.

    Yes, IT consulting firms post discriminatory want ads all over the Internet. See our report in the tab: In the press.
  • Ken Wasetis
    commented 2013-02-18 15:41:40 -0600
    Can someone clarify what is illegal about the ad above? I’ve seen IT consulting firms in particular use language like this for years. Language that indicates they ‘are willing to sponsor for H1B Visas’, etc. I don’t see any language in the ad indicating an explicit ‘preference’ for visa workers for this job.

    Was it that the job title itself has enticing language to would-be sponsored workers?

    Many first use language indicating a visa sponsorship is an option, so I’m trying to figure out what was so special about this ad that they went over the line (not that I like Avant’s overt enticement to lure visa workers for local U.S. jobs, but that alone doesn’t seem to be illegal.)

  • Briana Kim
    commented 2013-02-15 21:18:47 -0600
    I’m an employment law attorney who represents employees whose employment rights have been violated. This punishment is like a colonoscopy that goes on for 3 years. If your company is under a government monitor, many companies have policies that will not allow them to do business with you.