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Lenexa-based soccer company settles after DoJ finds it discriminated against American applicants

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Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 3:04 PM CDT
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LENEXA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Lenexa-based soccer company has settled following a Department of Justice discovery that the company did not hire applicants that held American citizenship.

The U.S. Department of Justice said on Tuesday, Sept. 14, that it signed a settlement agreement with Challenger Sports Corporation, a soccer instruction company in Lenexa, which runs soccer programs throughout the nation.

According to the Department, the settlement resolves claims that Challenger did not consider applicants with U.S. citizenship for full-time instructor positions in Pennsylvania, Maryland and northern Virginia due to its preference to hire workers on temporary visas.

Based on its independent investigation, the DoJ said it found that in Spring of 2019, Challenger’s Baltimore office failed to consider workers for full-time soccer instructor positions due to the staff’s assumption that U.S. workers, based on citizenship status, would not be interested in the position and expected to fill the positions with workers on seasonal employment visas.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the DoJ said employers cannot discriminate based on citizenship, immigration status or national origin at any stage in the hiring process. Additionally, the Department of Labor first asks employers that want to hire visa workers that they first hire all qualified and available U.S. workers that 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.”

According to the Department, the settlement requires Challenger to pay $6,000 in civil penalties and make $36,820 in back pay available to those the company discriminated against. Challenger will also change policies and procedures to comply with the INA’s anti-discrimination policy, train employees on the requirements of the law before applying for visas in the future and be subject to two years of department monitoring requirements, including providing regular reports to the department.

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