IBM Settles Discrimination Claim

By John Miano, September 30, 2013

I have written several times about visa abuse at IBM. I wish I could share everything on IBM that comes across my desk, but often the sender requests it only be used for background. When the eventual discrimination lawsuit does hit IBM, I am sure the discovery process will unearth a sewer.

IBM has settled a discrimination complaint with the Justice Department for placing advertisements seeking foreign workers on H-1B and F-1 visas exclusively. I have previously posted examples of such advertising from IBM's own corporate recruiting web site.

There are three takeaways from what is going on at IBM. First, it is not just the Indian companies who are abusing H-1B and other guest workers. Big name American companies like IBM are abusers as well. Guestworker programs need to be reformed to address the abuse by companies like IBM — not just singling out Indian companies for scrutiny.

Second, the examples that come out just scratch the surface of the abuse that goes on underneath. Discriminatory advertisements like this are mistakes. Some low-level person sees that IBM has a policy of giving preference to foreign workers and then, without thinking, puts that policy into advertising.

Third, the reason this kind abuse does not come out into the open is that large companies require employees to relinquish the right to bring a legal action in order to collect severance packages. Laid-off and early retirement IBM employees who might have applied for such positions are faced with the choice between the certainty of a package and the uncertainty of a legal action. Furthermore, job seekers who have applied to IBM (and other abusing companies) have no idea that they have been discriminated against.

I do not mean to pick on IBM. They just provide the best material. I am certain that the same kind of abuse that is documented at IBM is taking place at other companies as well.