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Facebook settles with DOJ to resolve allegations of discrimination against US workers

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Facebook will pay $4.75 million to the federal government to resolve claims of discriminating against U.S. workers through its recruitment and hiring practices, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday. 

The company will also pay up to $9.5 million to “eligible victims” of Facebook’s alleged discrimination to settle the case brought by the DOJ in December, under the Trump administration. A DOJ official declined to specify how many alleged victims may be eligible for the payments.

“Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status. This settlement reflects the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to holding employers accountable and eradicating discriminatory employment practices.”

The complaint filed against Facebook alleged it created a separate hiring process for certain temporary immigration status holders from at least Jan. 1, 2018, until at least Sept. 18, 2019. 

The DOJ official said the investigation is focused on that period of time outlined in the complaint, but the information the department collected suggested that the alleged behavior went back further and continued beyond that date. 

The suit alleged that Facebook used recruiting methods outside of its standard practices designed to deter U.S. workers from applying to certain positions. Facebook allegedly required applications to be submitted by mail only, refused to consider U.S. workers who applied to the positions and hired only temporary visa holders. 

After the suit was filed, the Labor Department audited Facebook’s pending permanent labor certification program applications to determine compliance with regulatory requirements. Through the audit, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification identified potential regulatory requirement violations. 

The settlement allows the Labor Department to continue to audit permanent labor certification program applications being filed by Facebook for the next several years at the department’s discretion, according to an agency official. 

The settlement is the largest civil penalty the civil rights division has ever recovered, according to the DOJ. 

In addition to the settlements, Facebook will be required to conduct more expansive advertising and recruitment for its job opportunities for all permanent labor certification program applications, including accepting electronic resumes or applications from all U.S. workers who apply, the DOJ said. 

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the settlement reached with the DOJ.

“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. 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,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Tags Civil Rights Division Facebook Immigration to the United States Kristen Clarke Labor certification Social media
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