Washington, DC - The Justice Department Wednesday announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Spike Inc., a moving and storage company doing business as Olympia Moving and Storage.
The settlement resolves the department’s claims that Spike violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by failing to consider four U.S. workers for employment opportunities that it instead filled with H-2B visa workers at two of its locations in the Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC metropolitan areas.
“Employers should hire workers based on their qualifications, not their citizenship or immigration status,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting workers from this type of discrimination.”
The department’s investigation determined that from at least Feb. 1, 2019, to March 11, 2019, Spike discriminated against four U.S. workers by failing to consider them for temporary mover positions. Despite receiving applications from these available workers, Spike filled the positions with H-2B visa workers, claiming that it could not find qualified and available U.S. workers. The INA prohibits employers from refusing to recruit or hire U.S. workers – i.e., U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees, and recent lawful permanent residents – because of their citizenship or immigration status.
Under the settlement, Spike will pay $12,000 in civil penalties to the United States, pay up to an amount of $70,000 in back pay to the affected U.S. workers, and conduct enhanced U.S. worker recruitment and advertising for future positions. The settlement also requires Spike to train employees on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.