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Baltimore County-based construction firm agrees to Department of Justice settlement for discrimination

A Baltimore County-based construction firm settled an agreement Thursday with the Department of Justice to pay back U.S. workers after discriminating against them.

The construction firm, Hallaton Inc., will pay over $43,000 in civil penalties to the United States and up to $80,000 to affected workers under the agreement, the DOJ said in a news release. The company will also have to conduct enhanced U.S. worker recruitment and advertise for future positions and train employees on discrimination. It will also be subject to monitoring from the DOJ.

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The company, which installs geosynthetic liners, violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the DOJ said, by preferring H-2B visa workers over qualified U.S. workers.

From at least Dec. 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018, Hallaton was found to have “routinely” discriminated against U.S. workers by the department for not considering them for construction laborer positions.

Hallaton received over two dozen applications through the Maryland Workforce Exchange but hired none of them, the release said. Instead, the release said, the company hired 63 H-2B visa workers for the jobs because it “could not find qualified and available U.S. workers.”

This is the eighth settlement under the Civil Rights Division’s Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, the release said. The department said since the initiative began, employees agreed or have distributed a combined total of more than $1.2 million in back pay to affected U.S. workers and civil penalties to the United States.

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