Washington, DC - The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it signed a settlement agreement with Challenger Sports Corporation (Challenger), a soccer instruction company based in Lenexa, Kansas, which runs soccer programs nationwide.
The settlement resolves the department’s claim that Challenger did not consider U.S. worker applicants for full-time soccer instructor jobs in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Northern Virginia because the company preferred to hire workers on temporary visas.
Based on its independent investigation, the department concluded that in Spring 2019, Challenger’s Baltimore office (1) failed to consider U.S. worker applicants for full-time soccer instructor positions because staff assumed that U.S. workers, based on their citizenship status, would not be interested in the positions; and (2) expected to fill the positions with workers on seasonal employment visas known as H-2B visas. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers cannot generally discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status, or national origin at any stage of the hiring process. In addition, the Department of Labor requires employers seeking permission to hire H-2B workers to first hire all qualified and available U.S. workers who apply by the relevant deadline.
“A company cannot decide to ignore applications from U.S. workers because of stereotypes about their willingness to do certain types of work, or a desire to reserve work opportunities for temporary visa holders,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Excluding U.S. workers from consideration for jobs because of their citizenship or immigration status is unfair and illegal.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Challenger will pay $6,000 in civil penalties and make $36,820 in back pay available to eligible discrimination victims. Challenger will also change its policies and procedures to comply with the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, train its employees on the requirements of this law before applying for H-2B visas in the future, and be subject to two years of department monitoring requirements, including providing regular reports to the department.