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Healthcare staffing firm settles with feds

February 08 2013

Avant Healthcare Professionals LLC will pay $27,750 in civil penalties as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations the company posted discriminatory job advertisements on the Internet, the department announced today. However, the company denied engaging in improper activity as part of the settlement.

Avant’s job postings contained language preferring foreign-trained individuals seeking permanent residence or H-1B visa sponsorship over U.S. workers, according to the department. The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of citizenship or immigration status unless required by law, regulation or government contract. None of those exceptions applied to Avant’s recruitment efforts, according to the department.

The company said in a prepared statement that it entered into the settlement agreement on Feb. 6.

"The DOJ was investigating whether we had discriminated against United States citizens," the company said in a statement. "Avant has always been committed to fair and equitable employment practices and has always welcomed all applicants. As the settlement agreement with DOJ reflects, we denied engaging in any improper activity and believe we have always acted fairly. Nevertheless, to avoid  protracted and expensive litigation, we settled the matter. We settled because we wanted to put this matter behind us so that we can focus exclusively on offering both health care providers and professionals the highest quality service that has always been -- and will continue to be -- the foundation of Avant’s business." 

In addition to paying $27,750, Avant will also have to change its internal policies and written procedures to incorporate anti-discrimination protections and to be subject to reporting and compliance monitoring requirements for three years, according to the department.

Avant is based in Casselberry, Fla. The company is also a member of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's IMAGE program. It joined the voluntary program in 2010.

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