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iGate Mastech Fined $45,000 by DOJ for H-1B Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Justice announced May 1, 2008, that it has imposed a civil fine of $45,000 to iGate Mastech, Inc., a Pittsburgh computer consulting company in connection with the company’s alleged discrimination against United States citizens in its employment practices and advertisements.

The DOJ found that between May 9, 2006, and June 4, 2006, the company placed 30 job ads for computer programmers that expressly favored H-1B holders to the exclusion of U.S. citizens or green card holders.  Some of the ads contained text identical or similar to, “Only H-1s apply, and should be willing to transfer H-1B.

Such discrimination is prohibited under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.   “We are committed to protecting the right of all authorized workers in the United States against citizenship status discrimination,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

While we are uncertain of the motives of the company to place such ads, the civil fine settlement comes as a result of a complaint by the Programmers Guild (PG) in 2006.  According to PG, iGate Mastech is just one of at least several companies engaged in the practice of discriminating against U.S. workers “in favor of cheap H-1B workers.”  If these are the motives, DOJ’s actions should serve to the great benefit of the labor immigrants.  It has been one of the main arguments of the H-1B program critics that the program undercuts the salaries of U.S. professionals.  By eliminating companies who intentionally seek foreign talent at a cheap rate, DOJ helps to ensure that the H-1B program’s critics have less of an argument against it.

Here is DOJ’s press release.

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