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Court: United States District Court for the District of Washington (King County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Defendant's Attorney: Not Available
Description: Seattle, Washington: The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with Aero Precision LLC, a Washington state firearm manufacturer. The settlement resolves the department’s determination that Aero Precision had a policy of unlawfully screening out certain non-U.S. citizen job candidates, including asylees and refugees, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under governing law, asylees and refugees have the same eligibility to work in jobs involving access to sensitive defense-related information as U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and would have to pass the same background check as other employees if an employer requires one.
“Asylees and refugees in the United States are authorized to work and are entitled to fair access to employment opportunities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that all employers, regardless of their industry, have a fair hiring process that does not subject workers to unlawful discrimination.”
The department’s investigation determined that from at least April 2020 until September 2020, Aero Precision routinely implemented a hiring policy that screened out eligible candidates who were not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Firearm manufacturers in the United States are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which regulate specific exports of defense articles and services. Absent State Department authorization, employers subject to these regulations must limit access to certain sensitive information to “U.S. persons,” which are defined as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, asylees and refugees. The ITAR thus does not authorize or require employers to exclude asylees and refugees from consideration and hire only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. By limiting hiring to just U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, Aero Precision placed unnecessary hiring restrictions on its workforce.
Under the settlement, Aero Precision must train staff on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, review its policies to ensure compliance with relevant law and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.
Outcome: See above.