Two recent settlements between employers and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) emphasize the complex interplay between US immigration and export control laws in the hiring process. The settlements serve as a reminder to employers of the potential employment discrimination pitfalls for companies attempting to comply with export control laws.
In late August 2018, the DOJ’s Immigration and Employee Rights Section (IER) reached a settlement agreement with international law firm Clifford Chance US LLP, which the DOJ accused of violating the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by refusing to consider employment-authorized non-US citizens and dual citizens for a document review project. Just two months earlier, the DOJ found that engineering company Setpoint Systems, Inc. violated the INA by limiting certain positions to US citizens only. In both cases, the unlawful employment practices stemmed from a mistaken understanding of the requirements of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).