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new jersey workplace discrimination: u.s. citizens ignored


The federal government is seeking to enforce the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act against a New Jersey technology servicer headquartered in Jersey City. On May 22, the Department of Justice sued Whiz International LLC, alleging that the firm had engaged in workplace discrimination by directing an employee — a receptionist who acted as a recruiter — to favor foreign nationals with a temporary work visa for employment positions with the firm.

When the employee questioned the contemplated exclusion of U.S. citizens from consideration for jobs with the company, she was purportedly fired. The DOJ seeks monetary damages for the fired worker, as well as civil damages for the discriminatory practice and a court order barring the company from engaging in this type of conduct in the future.

Workplace discrimination is an insidious offense. Here, a U.S. firm is actually accused of preferring foreign workers with temporary work visas over American citizens for employment. While no reason was offered for the claimed preference, the law in New Jersey and throughout the country prohibits the practice. Further, if it is proven in federal court that the company actually fired the worker for questioning the correctness of that policy, the company could face damage to its reputation as well as court sanctions — including monetary relief for its transgressions.

As the country struggles to recover from the seemingly endless recession, the availability of new jobs is an important cornerstone to renewed financial stability. The knowledge that a U.S. company may be engaging in conduct designed to limit the opportunity of any specific group to compete for available employment positions is, in the very least, disturbing. It is also against the law, and the DOJ has taken the first step to force Whiz International to abandon its alleged policy of workplace discrimination and open its hiring process up for equal consideration of all qualified applicants.

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