Georgia-Based IT Firm Settles Discrimination Case

May 21, 2023

American CyberSystems Inc., operating under the name Innova Solutions, has come under fire for discriminatory hiring practices, according to a recent announcement by the Justice Department. The Georgia-based IT staffing and services company’s case offers a crucial lesson for small business owners on the importance of understanding and adhering to federal hiring regulations.

Following a thorough investigation, the department revealed that American CyberSystems was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The company had been recruiting for two distinct positions and had unlawfully excluded potential candidates based on their citizenship statuses in its job advertisements.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, emphasized the gravity of this violation: “Employers cannot unlawfully discriminate against individuals based on their citizenship status when they advertise job opportunities, plain and simple.” She added that this settlement demonstrates their commitment to ensuring employers toe the line with legal requirements, and that any form of citizenship-based discrimination will not be tolerated.

One of the discriminatory advertisements from the company was specifically targeting U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents for a role that would require access to materials subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The investigation concluded that the company had no justification for excluding U.S. nationals, refugees, and asylees, who are permitted equal access to export-controlled items under the same regulations, without needing specific authorization.

In another instance, American CyberSystems ran an unrelated advertisement, which selectively sought out workers with temporary work visas, thereby discriminating against immigrant and U.S. citizen workers.

This landmark settlement necessitates that American CyberSystems provides training to its recruitment and human resources staff concerning the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The company must also review and modify its policies to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and will be subjected to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements. As part of the settlement, the company will be required to pay a civil penalty due to its discriminatory ads.

The case stands as a stark reminder to small business owners about the importance of thorough understanding and implementation of hiring laws and anti-discrimination practices. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division provides a multitude of resources to assist employers in understanding their responsibilities. This includes a newly released fact sheet that clarifies employers’ obligations under the INA and emphasizes that these requirements do not change when in compliance with export-control laws and regulations.

All businesses, regardless of their size, must ensure their hiring practices are non-discriminatory and inclusive. A clear understanding of the federal laws and regulations, coupled with regular staff training and diligent monitoring of compliance, can protect businesses from legal repercussions and foster an environment of fairness and inclusivity.

As the Justice Department reinforces their commitment to ensuring legal hiring practices, this case study should prompt all business owners, especially those operating small enterprises, to take a comprehensive look at their hiring policies to ensure they’re inclusive, fair, and within the legal framework.

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This article, “Georgia-Based IT Firm Settles Discrimination Case” was first published on Small Business Trends



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