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Apple will pay $25 million in DOJ discrimination settlement

Apple CEO Tim Cook listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable with American and Indian business leaders in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., June 23, 2023.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

Apple will pay $25 million in back pay and civil penalties to settle a matter over the company’s hiring practices under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Apple has agreed to pay $6.75 million in civil penalties and establish an $18.25 million fund for back pay to eligible discrimination victims, the DOJ said in a release.

Apple was accused of not advertising positions that it wanted to fill through a federal program called Permanent Labor Certification Program or PERM, which allows U.S. companies to recruit workers who can become permanent U.S. residents after completing a number of requirements.

The DOJ said that it believed that Apple followed procedures that were designed to favor current Apple employees holding temporary visas who wanted to become permanent employees. In particular, Apple was accused of not advertising positions on its external website and erecting hurdles such as requiring mailed paper applications, which the DOJ alleges means that some applicants to Apple jobs were not properly considered under federal law.

PERM jobs are typically used to hire international graduates from U.S. universities.

“These less effective recruitment procedures deterred U.S. applicants from applying and nearly always resulted in zero or very few mailed applications that Apple considered for PERM-related job positions, which allowed Apple to fill the positions with temporary visa holders,” according to the settlement agreement between Apple and DOJ.

Apple contests the accusation, according to the agreement, and says that it believes it was following the appropriate Department of Labor regulations. Apple also contests that any failures were the result of inadvertent errors and not discrimination, according to the agreement.

“Apple proudly employs more than 90,000 people in the United States and continues to invest nationwide, creating millions of jobs. When we realized we had unintentionally not been following the DOJ standard, we agreed to a settlement addressing their concerns,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC. “We have 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 U.S.”

Apple agreed to a remediation plan that includes drafting an official PERM recruitment policy and reporting PERM hires and applicants to the DOJ twice per year.

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