Federal law enforcement forced Apple to put $18.25 million towards folks who tried to join the company’s staff, but were rebuffed due to the company ignoring job applications sent online. While feds claimed Apple was trying to favor current workers on temporary visas, the tech giant said it was just one big misunderstanding.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a release Thursday that Apple created “barriers” for U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, and refugees or asylum speakers. Essentially, feds alleged Apple’s recruitment practices at home were far less effective than they were overseas. This was under the Permanent Labor Certification Program, otherwise called PERM. It allows companies to sponsor workers for permanent resident status, and it’s often used by foreign graduates at U.S. colleges. Those companies that make regular use of the program also need to look to hiring U.S.-based workers first.
The DoJ says the tech giant wasn’t advertising jobs on its external hiring website, and it also forced some workers to mail paper applications versus letting them do the same thing over the internet, and the company wouldn’t even consider those applications if a hopeful worker filed them electronically. This was all in an effort to favor Apple workers holding temporary visas over other jobseekers.
“These less effective recruitment procedures nearly always resulted in few or no applications to PERM positions from applicants whose permission to work does not expire,” the DOJ said in its release.
Apple already fixed some of its recruitment practices after feds started their investigation back in 2019. Still, officials now require that Apple post its PERM positions to its job site and accept electronic applications.
Apple still disagrees with the Department of Labor’s conclusion about its misconduct, according to the settlement papers. Instead, the Cupertino company claimed any failures to comply with the hiring law “were the result of inadvertent error and not intentional discrimination.” Of course, Apple is not admitting any guilt regarding its hiring practices, though it will need to report any new PERM hires to the DOJ twice a year.
Gizmodo reached out to Apple, but we did not immediately hear back. A company spokesperson told CNBC that it had “unintentionally” not been following the DOJ’s standards, and that it was already implementing its remediation plan.
The $25 million breaks down into $6.75 million in civil penalties, while the rest will go into a back pay fund for all those “eligible” would-be workers. The DOJ is forcing Apple to any of the folks who may have been deterred from applying to its jobs and who were not considered because of its obtuse hiring practices. Claimants who get a note from Apple will be able to file their requests to a fund-specific website whenever the company gets around to creating one.