Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Honda Aircraft Company LLC
The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Honda Aircraft Company LLC (Honda Aircraft), a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co. Inc., and subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. Ltd., that manufactures and sells business jet aircrafts. The settlement resolves a claim that Honda Aircraft, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, refused to consider or hire certain work-authorized non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision.
The Department’s independent investigation determined that between August 2015 and December 2016, Honda Aircraft published at least 25 job postings that unlawfully required applicants to have a specific citizenship status to be considered for the vacancies. The Department concluded that the company’s unlawful practice of restricting job vacancies to U.S. citizens and in some cases, to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPR), was based on a misunderstanding of the requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The discriminatory job postings were published on Honda Aircraft’s website and several third-party websites.
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that employers do not unlawfully exclude non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Employers who are subject to the ITAR or the EAR should carefully review their responsibilities under anti-discrimination statutes.”
The ITAR regulates specific exports of defense articles and services, and – absent State Department authorization – limits access to certain sensitive information to “U.S. persons,” which are defined as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees, and refugees. The EAR similarly regulates commercial goods and technology that could have military applications. The EAR limits access to export-controlled technology and information to “U.S. persons” absent authorization from the Department of Commerce. Neither the ITAR nor the EAR requires or authorizes employers to hire only U.S. citizens and LPRs. Employers that limit their hiring to U.S. citizens and/or LPRs without legal justification may violate the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.
Under the settlement agreement, Honda Aircraft will pay a civil penalty of $44,626, and remove all specific citizenship requirements from current and future job postings unless they are authorized by law. The agreement also requires certain employees to attend training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision and ensure that trained personnel review future job advertisements.
The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring or recruiting or referring for a fee based on a person’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. In the absence of a legal basis (such as a law, regulation, or government contract that requires U.S. citizenship restrictions), employers, recruiters and referrers for a fee may not limit job opportunities or otherwise impose barriers to employment based on an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. By requiring a specific citizenship status as a condition of employment, Honda Aircraft’s job postings created discriminatory barriers for work-authorized individuals and unlawfully excluded U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees, and, in some cases, LPRs.
The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
More information on how employers can avoid unlawful citizenship status discrimination is available here. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; or discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.