Arthur Grand job posting
Federal agencies find tech firm discriminated in hiring. Company denies wrongdoing but settles for penalty and reforms.

A US tech firm is catching flak for placing a discriminatory job ad requiring not only for native-born U.S. citizens to apply, but that they are looking for "whites." The company, which attributed this job ad to a recruiter based in India, agreed to a federal settlement to resolve the issue.

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that Arthur Grand, a government contracting firm specialising in I.T. services, had settled a discriminatory job posting case. In addition to a $7,500 civil penalty, Arthur Grand will pay $31,000 to the 31 individuals who filed complaints about the discriminatory job posting.

The company, a minority-owned federal contractor, will also undergo monitoring to ensure adherence to anti-discrimination laws. The Justice Department reported that the March 2023 job posting contained discriminatory language, restricting eligible candidates to U.S. citizens born in the country and residing within 60 miles of Dallas, Texas.

Arthur Grand job positng
US tech firm placed a discriminatory job ad seeking only white US citizens. They were penalised and must reform hiring practices. Twitter / AF Post @AFpost

This information, marked "Don't share with candidates", was intended to be hidden from applicants. "It is shameful that in the 21st century, we continue to see employers using 'whites only' and 'only US-born' job postings to lock out otherwise eligible job candidates of colour," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in the statement.

Clarke echoed public outrage in the statement, condemning Arthur Grand's "appalling and discriminatory ban on job candidates based on citizenship status, national origin, colour and race."

While the Justice Department's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section investigated the case, Arthur Grand reached a separate agreement with the Labor Department.

DOJ and DOL Take Action Against Arthur Grand's Discriminatory Ad

Despite stating they "neither admit nor deny any violation" in their agreement with the Department of Labor, Arthur Grand CEO Sheik Rahmathullah maintained his company's innocence in a message to NPR. He claimed the discriminatory job posting was the work of a single unauthorised employee.

On the other hand, the federal agencies found that the job posting discriminated against applicants based on their national origin and potential citizenship status. Here's what they saw.

Discrimination: The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Labor (DOL) agreed that the March 2023 job posting by Arthur Grand was discriminatory.

Immigration and Nationality Act Violation: The DOJ specifically cited a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This likely refers to the act's provisions prohibiting discrimination based on national origin in employment.

Executive Order Violation: The DOL pointed to a violation of an executive order barring discrimination by federal contractors. This order likely prohibits discrimination based on race, national origin, and other protected characteristics (which may include citizenship status depending on the specific order).

The Department of Labor's agreement with Arthur Grand revealed additional violations beyond the discriminatory job posting. The company failed to track applicant demographics like race, ethnicity, and gender and neglected to correctly display a notice informing workers of their equal employment opportunity rights.

Job Seekers Struggle in a Changing Workforce

"We are committed to holding federal contractors accountable for outrageous discriminatory practices like this advertisement," said Acting Director Michele Hodge of the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). "Companies like Arthur Grand, that accept federal contracts cannot have a 'whites only' hiring process."

The Labor Department's agreement requires Arthur Grand to send a specific letter to individuals complaining about the discriminatory job posting. The caveat is that to participate in the settlement, applicants must sign a waiver acknowledging that Arthur Grand denies any wrongdoing in their application process.

The discriminatory job posting adds insult to injury for job seekers already facing an uncertain future. Computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton recently pointed out that automation will likely displace many workers in routine positions.

Compounding this challenge, The World Economic Forum's 2023 Future of Jobs Report predicts that over 75 per cent of companies will adopt A.I. and automation within five years. This rapid technological shift is poised to transform the way we work dramatically.