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Justice Department Slaps IBM Over H-1B Hiring Practices 195

Dawn Kawamoto writes "IBM reached a settlement with the Justice Department over allegations it posted discriminatory online job openings, allegedly stating a preference for H-1B and foreign student visa holders for its software and apps developer positions. The job openings were for IT positions that would eventually require the applicant to relocate overseas. IBM agreed to pay $44,400 in civil penalties to the U.S., as well as take certain actions in the way it hires within the U.S. The settlement, announced Friday, comes at a time with tech companies are calling for the U.S. to allow more H-1B workers into the country."
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Justice Department Slaps IBM Over H-1B Hiring Practices

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  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Saturday September 28, 2013 @01:09AM (#44977511)

    Yep, a whole $44,400 fine.

    Good thing they did not download an mp3 file illegally. Because that could have cost much more!

  • by msmonroe ( 2511262 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @02:01AM (#44977647)
    Do you smoke crack often?
    The government is creating the problem but not in the way your implying. It's supporting the mythology of a labor shortage by turning a blind eye to practices that seem to show that there is an IT shortage when it's actually the opposite problem and the issue is that there is a shortage of labor at a low wage.
    We can argue free market, but there is only a free market with government regulation. You can argue that's it's not true, but you can see historically that I'm right.
  • by Delusion_ ( 56114 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @02:08AM (#44977667) Homepage

    Just wrote something about H1Bs in a different post. Modified to be more relevant to this post:

    Every time a company tells Congress they need more H1Bs, they're not telling you they can't find programmers, they're telling you they don't want to pay a competitive wage. Combine this with the fact that a lot of programmer types consider themselves too "individualist" to be involved with anything so "workmanly" as a labour union, and you set up a system where talented workers' wages are artificially reduced.

    The result is a competent creative who is suddenly being pitted against people whose standard of living requires a third or less of the salary by a company whose primary interest isn't in being a good corporate citizen, investing in the community, or even playing by the rules that conservative and libertarian proponents pay lip service to, but increasing "shareholder value" by any means necessary no matter who suffers, and no matter how bad it is for the community, the region, and the country.

  • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @02:12AM (#44977683) Homepage Journal

    Nonsense. Those visas mandate proper salaries (note that the article says nothing about this point)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2013 @02:25AM (#44977711)

    A law that is not enforced is hardly a law at all.

  • by Delusion_ ( 56114 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @02:48AM (#44977757) Homepage

    > Let's ignore for a moment that this visas mandate US level salaries

    Most of the problem isn't that we can ignore it, but that the companies in question as well as Congress does ignore it. The entire program only exists because it acts as a loophole by which employers can pay sub-standard wages, not competitive wages, despite what you might wish or the actual law might require before you get into the contingencies and loopholes. The biggest of these is that "competitive wage" is defined by occupation and region, not actual job function. You want a lead programmer at journeyman prices? Not a problem in the law.

    H1B visas are by law only allowed when there is not a US citizen with comparable skills at the local prevailing wage. The prevalence of H1B visas requires one to believe that the US job market is just so great that it's difficult for employers to find qualified applicants.

    As well as the advantages which directly affect the US wage:

    Off-the books overtime. Denial of legally required benefits. Hiring under one firm and working under another. These workers can be sent back the minute they cease to be a bargain.

    There are plenty of US workers for what are mostly entry-level programming positions. The companies don't want H1B visas because, in accordance with the intent of the law, they can't find suitable candidates at market value. They want them precisely because they want them below market value.

  • by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @03:21AM (#44977813)

    If investors actually pay any attention at all to this news, the price will go up. IBM has essentially proven to its shareholders that they can once again go up against the federal government in cases like this and come out paying virtually nothing in fines, while not being required to take any meaningful action as far as policy revision goes. That's called "enhancing shareholder confidence."

    You probably shouldn't have sold those shares.

  • by hpoul ( 219387 ) <> on Saturday September 28, 2013 @05:02AM (#44977977) Homepage

    wouldn't it be a more of a free market, if companies could hire world wide, without control of the government (ie. without the restriction to hire US employees)?
    I think arguing with "free market" for preventing immigration is really a bit strange.. so in a free market IT wages would significantly drop, because there is no shortage of good educated IT personal willing to immigrate .. (until the wages aren't high enough any more to be motivation enough obviously..)

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @09:57AM (#44978737)

    Nonsense. Those visas mandate proper salaries (note that the article says nothing about this point)

    It still drives down wages. If there truly is a limited supply of skilled workers, then supply and demand dictates that wages will increase. As wages increase, more workers will enter the field and wages will stabilize. However, bringing in H1B workers keeps supply and demand from working, thus keeping wages down and discourages new workers from entering the field. Bring in enough H1B workers and now there are a surplus of workers and wages fall, maybe not ot third world levels, but below what the market would normally dictate.

    So ultimately, the OP was correct, H1B visas, because they disrupt the normal supply and demand flow for wages do indeed supress wages. While that is not the intended purpose of H1B visas, that is the practical effect.

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @09:58AM (#44978745)

    A law that is not enforced is hardly a law at all.

    Worse is when laws are only selectively enforced.

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @10:03AM (#44978777)

    we need to clamp down on tech businesses and get them to stop exploiting H-1B's

    Here's a simple approach: eliminate the H-1B program. Forget the "well, let's compromise, some need" blah, blah, blah garbage. Just get rid of it. The country did fine, and was a leader in science and technology for decades, without the H-1B visa program. Also note that this does not mean any reduction in immigration (including skills based immigration), just a guest worker program that we don't, and never did, need (except for lowering salaries).

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.