Facebook will pay up to $9.5 million to victims to settle discrimination claims against U.S. workers
Facebook will pay $4.75 million in fines and up to $9.5 million to victims in order to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations that the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign temporary visa holders, the department announced Tuesday.
The Department of Justice sued Facebook in December 2020, alleging that U.S. workers were being discriminated against and the company reserved positions for foreign workers on the H-1B visa from January 1, 2018 until at least September 18, 2019. Around 2,600 positions paying an average of $156,000 a year were allegedly set aside for foreign workers while using the permanent labor certification program (PERM).
Facebook allegedly “routinely refused” to consider or hire U.S. workers, including U.S. citizens and nationals, refugees, asylees and “lawful permanent residents” for those reserved positions and discriminated against them based on citizenship or immigration status, the department said. Facebook was also accused of using recruiting practices that intentionally discouraged U.S. workers from applying to those jobs, including requiring that applications only be submitted by mail.
Tuesday’s settlements mark the largest backpay and civil penalty award in the 35-year-old history of the enforcement of anti-discrimination rules under the Immigration and Nationality Act, officials said.
Facebook also settled with the U.S. Department of Labor, which audited Facebook’s PERM applications earlier this year and identified potential violations in the company’s recruitment process. As part of the settlement, Facebook will give additional recruitment and notice for U.S. workers and will submit to more audits.
In addition to training workers on anti-discrimination requirements under the Department of Justice settlement, Facebook will have to “conduct more expansive advertising and recruitment for its job opportunities for all PERM positions, accept electronic resumes or applications from all U.S. workers who apply, and take other steps to ensure that its recruitment for PERM positions closely matches its standard recruitment practices.”
“While we strongly believe we met the federal government’s standards in our permanent labor certification (PERM) practices, we’ve reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world, and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence.”