Office of Public Affairs |  The Justice Department enters into an agreement with Cox Communications to resolve claims that the company used a Georgia Tech recruiting platform to discriminate

Thirty-seven years after Congress passed the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement with Cox Communications Inc., a Georgia-based provider of residential and business telecommunications services, to resolve the Issue has resulted in claims of discrimination.

Specifically, this agreement resolves the Department’s determination that Cox Communications violated the INA by using a Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) on-campus recruiting platform to post dozens of discriminatory job advertisements targeting students and alumni based on their Citizenship status illegally excluded. The department previously reached agreements with 30 other employers to resolve similar claims – 16 in June 2022, four in September 2022 and another 10 in May 2023 – and with Georgia Tech in August 2023.

“With this latest resolution, the Department of Justice has now held Georgia Tech and 31 employers accountable for their roles in unlawful hiring discrimination based on students’ citizenship status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “These settlements have resulted in more than $2.5 million in civil penalties and demonstrate the Department’s commitment to ensuring that college students and graduates beginning their careers have a fair opportunity to compete for jobs apply.”

The department began its investigation after a Georgia Tech student, then a legal permanent resident, complained about a U.S. citizen-only internship posting on Georgia Tech’s on-campus job placement platform. The department’s investigation into the student’s complaint found dozens of other discriminatory ads on the platform, including several from Cox Communications. The Department found that Cox Communications posted numerous job advertisements that unlawfully excluded workers with asylum or refugee status, lawful permanent residents and, in one case, U.S. citizens. The department also found that Cox Communications used features of Georgia Tech’s online platform to discourage and automatically disqualify qualified students from applying based on their citizenship status.

Under this agreement, Cox Communications is required to pay a civil penalty of $459,895 and to train its recruiting staff on the anti-discrimination provisions of the INA. The agreement also prohibits Cox Communications from including certain citizenship or immigration status information in its campus job postings, unless the restrictions are required by law.

This agreement is part of the Department’s efforts to combat discrimination related to artificial intelligence and automated systems, as described in the Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.

The anti-discrimination provision of the INA was passed as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in November 1986. This law prohibits employers and recruiters from restricting employment based on citizenship or immigration status unless required by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract. The INA protects individuals granted asylum or refugee status, recent lawful permanent residents, U.S. citizens, and U.S. nationals from discrimination based on citizenship status in hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee.

Find out more about IER’s work and how you can get support in this short video. Visit the IER website for more information on how employers can avoid discrimination based on citizenship status when recruiting and hiring employees. Applicants or employees who believe they have been discriminated against in hiring, firing, recruiting, or during the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify) because of their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or are subject to retaliation can file a report. The public can also call the IER staff hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for the hearing impaired). Call the IER Employer Hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for the hearing impaired). Email; Register for a live webinar or watch an on-demand presentation. or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to email updates from IER.

View the settlement agreement here.