The U.S. Justice Department announced in late August 2018 that it had reached a settlement with a U.S. law firm for violations of the unfair immigration-related employment practices provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. section 1324b).
According to the settlement agreement [PDF 97 KB], the matter concerned the law firm’s citizenship-related restriction for hiring only U.S. citizens to work on a project involving data controlled under the jurisdiction of the U.S. State Department. The law firm was attempting in good faith to comply with the data access restrictions contained in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which restrict disclosure of ITAR-controlled material to a non “U.S. person.”
According to the settlement agreement, the relevant rules (22 C.F.R. 120.15) allow U.S persons to have access to ITAR-controlled data if they are permanent residents or protected individuals (as defined by INA section 1324b(a)(3), which includes U.S. citizens or nationals, refugees, and “asylees” (asylum seekers)).
The settlement agreement explains that there is no good faith exception to the general prohibition against discriminating on the basis of citizenship status or national origin. The Justice Department’s Immigration and Employee Rights (IER) section determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the law firm violated the rules by discriminating against non-U.S. citizens who may have met the above criteria from working on the ITAR project.
Under the settlement agreement, the law firm is required to pay a penalty of $132,000, to compensate injured parties, revise its policies, and comply with other IER requirements.
For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:
John L. McLoughlin
Luis (Lou) Abad
© 2018 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.
The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at: + 1 202 533 4366, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.