Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Honda
Aircraft Company LLC (Honda Aircraft), a wholly owned subsidiary of
American Honda Motor Co. Inc., and subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.,
that manufactures and sells business jet aircrafts. The settlement
resolves a claim that Honda Aircraft, headquartered in Greensboro, North
Carolina, refused to consider or hire certain work-authorized non-U.S.
citizens because of their citizenship status, in violation of the
Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision.
The Department’s independent investigation determined that between
August 2015 and December 2016, Honda Aircraft published at least 25 job
postings that unlawfully required applicants to have a specific
citizenship status to be considered for the vacancies. The Department
concluded that the company’s unlawful practice of restricting job
vacancies to U.S. citizens and in some cases, to U.S. citizens and
lawful permanent residents (LPR), was based on a misunderstanding of the
requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The discriminatory job
postings were published on Honda Aircraft’s website and several
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that employers do
not unlawfully exclude non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship
status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil
Rights Division. “Employers who are subject to the ITAR or the EAR
should carefully review their responsibilities under anti-discrimination
The ITAR regulates specific exports of defense articles and services,
and – absent State Department authorization – limits 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 EAR similarly regulates commercial goods and technology
that could have military applications. The EAR limits access to
export-controlled technology and information to “U.S. persons” absent
authorization from the Department of Commerce. Neither the ITAR nor the
EAR requires or authorizes employers to hire only U.S. citizens and
LPRs. Employers that limit their hiring to U.S. citizens and/or LPRs
without legal justification may violate the INA’s anti-discrimination
Under the settlement agreement, Honda Aircraft will pay a civil
penalty of $44,626, and remove all specific citizenship requirements
from current and future job postings unless they are authorized by law.
The agreement also requires certain employees to attend training on the
INA’s anti-discrimination provision and ensure that trained personnel
review future job advertisements.
The INA’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from
discriminating in hiring or recruiting or referring for a fee based on a
person’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. In the
absence of a legal basis (such as a law, regulation, or government
contract that requires U.S. citizenship restrictions), employers,
recruiters and referrers for a fee may not limit job opportunities or
otherwise impose barriers to employment based on an individual’s
citizenship or immigration status. By requiring a specific citizenship
status as a condition of employment, Honda Aircraft’s job postings
created discriminatory barriers for work-authorized individuals and
unlawfully excluded U.S. nationals, asylees, refugees, and, in some
The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is
responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the
INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.
More information on how employers can avoid unlawful citizenship status discrimination is available here.
For more information about protections against employment
discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at
1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s
employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing
impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive updates from IER.
Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to
discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or
national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee;
or discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process
(Form I-9 and E-Verify) based on their citizenship, immigration status
or national origin; or retaliation can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.