General Motors Settles Over Immigration-Related Discrimination in Export Compliance Assessments


The U.S. Justice Department has reached a settlement with General Motors (GM) over alleged discrimination against non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The department's investigation determined that GM's export compliance assessments improperly required lawful permanent residents to provide an unexpired foreign passport as a condition of employment, creating a discriminatory barrier in the hiring process.

The company also improperly combined its process for verifying workers' permission to work in the U.S. with its export compliance assessment.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division stated that "export control laws do not justify or authorize an employer to discriminate against non-U.S. citizens in violation of the INA." In response to the investigation, the Justice Department is releasing a new fact sheet to help employers avoid citizenship status discrimination when complying with export control laws, such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations.

Under the terms of the settlement, GM will pay $365,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. government, train its personnel on the INA's requirements, revise its employment policies, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

GM must also separate its process for verifying permission to work in the U.S. from its export compliance assessment process and stop requiring lawful permanent residents to present foreign passports as a condition of employment.

The Civil Rights Division's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin during the hiring process.


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