After ‘whites only’ advertisement, tech staffing firm settles with DOJ and labor

The U.S. Department of Labor and the Justice Department have reached an agreement with a Virginia-based IT staffing firm after discovering a discriminatory job posting. The Labor Department building in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images)

Arthur Grand Technologies Inc., a Virginia-based IT staffing firm, has reached settlement agreements with the U.S. government following a job posting that contained race and citizenship requirements. The posting also included a directive to not share this information with candidates.

Arthur Grand has reached an agreement where they will pay a civil penalty of $7,500. Additionally, they will provide a total of $31,000 to 31 individuals who raised complaints regarding the posting. The company, being a minority-owned business and a federal contractor with a disadvantaged business designation, will also be subjected to monitoring to ensure adherence to anti-discrimination laws.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division expressed her dismay at the persistence of discriminatory employment practices in the 21st century. She highlighted the use of job postings that exclude individuals of color by explicitly stating preferences for “whites only” or “only US born” candidates. The Justice Department announced agreements to address this issue.

In the agreement with the Department of Labor, Arthur Grand does not admit or deny any violation. However, Arthur Grand CEO Sheik Rahmathullah strongly denies any guilt or wrongdoing and asserts that the job posting was made by a rogue employee.

What did the job posting say?

The online circulation of a job posting last year caused a wave of outrage and allegations of discrimination. The posting stated, “Only Born US Citizens [White] who are local within 60 miles from Dallas, TX [Don’t share with candidates].” It is worth noting that the words in brackets were not paraphrases; they were directly taken from the posting, as highlighted by the Justice Department.

Arthur Grand Technologies was looking for a candidate to fill a position as a Salesforce Business Analyst and Insurance Claims professional in Dallas, according to the Labor Department.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the job listing for the business analyst position states that the role would cater to two clients – HTC Global, an information technology company headquartered in Troy, Michigan, and Berkshire Hathaway, the multinational holding company based in Omaha, Nebraska.

What did the federal agencies find?

The Immigration and Nationality Act was violated by Arthur Grand when they listed in March of 2023, according to the DOJ. Additionally, the company was found to have violated a well-established executive order that prohibits federal contractors from engaging in discrimination based on race, national origin, and other protected characteristics, as stated by the Labor Department.

The Labor Department, in its separate agreement with Arthur Grand, has identified additional violations. It has discovered that the company failed to maintain records that track the demographic characteristics of job applicants, such as their gender, race, or ethnicity. Furthermore, the company neglected to post a notice regarding workers’ equal employment opportunity rights in prominent locations.

Acting Director Michele Hodge of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) expressed a commitment to holding federal contractors accountable for discriminatory practices like the one demonstrated in this advertisement. She emphasized that companies like Arthur Grand, which accept federal contracts, cannot engage in a hiring process that discriminates against certain racial or ethnic groups.

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The Labor Department has reached an agreement with the company, which involves providing a form letter to individuals who filed complaints against Arthur Grand. The letter informs them that in order to participate in the agreement, they must sign a document stating, “I acknowledge that AGT denies any unlawful or unfair treatment towards me.”

According to the letter, the complainants agree not to sue the company after signing the document and receiving payment.

What does Arthur Grand say?

Rahmathullah stressed that Arthur Grand did not confess to any wrongdoing or guilt. In an interview with NPR, he explained that the staffing firm only agreed to the Department of Justice and Labor settlements in order to avoid the substantial financial burden and prolonged disruption that would come with litigation.

“Arthur Grand Technologies categorically denies any involvement in or responsibility for the discriminatory job posting,” Rahmathullah stated. He emphasized that the job notice was an “unauthorized posting,” further distancing the company from any wrongdoing.

“We acted swiftly and decisively upon learning about the incident,” Rahmathullah stated, emphasizing the company’s commitment to preventing any such occurrence in the future. “We promptly terminated the employee responsible for this incident.”

“We deeply regret any harm caused by this incident and offer our sincere apologies. Our priority now is to regain the trust and confidence of our community and stakeholders. We are fully committed to implementing significant changes that will address this issue and ensure a better future for everyone involved.”

The Justice Department admitted in its settlement agreement that the company had denied approving the job posting. Arthur Grand claimed that the disgruntled recruiter in India had generated the advertisement to embarrass the company, as per the DOJ.

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What is Arthur Grand Technologies?

Located in Ashburn, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., this IT staffing firm operates from a two-story office complex, conveniently situated approximately 10 miles north of Dulles International Airport. Nestled among dental and orthodontics offices, as well as an insurance company, it enjoys a prime location within the community.

“We are proud to have a company where individuals of color hold all the senior leadership positions, and more than 80% of our staff are also people of color,” Rahmathullah shared with NPR.

According to U.S. government records, Arthur Grand holds certification as a Small Disadvantaged Business in the roster of federal contractors.

In order to attain this status, the company must have a majority ownership by individuals who are considered “disadvantaged”. These individuals must meet the criteria of being both socially and economically disadvantaged.

According to the Small Business Administration, Small Disadvantaged Businesses receive approximately 10% of all federal contract dollars, amounting to around $50 billion in annual contracts awarded by the Federal Government.

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