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U.S. Government Fines Facebook For Discrimination Against U.S. Workers, Preferring Immigrants

U.S. Government Fines Facebook For Discrimination Against U.S. Workers, Preferring Immigrants

Facebook will pay more than $14 million to settle a case for allegedly denying employment to U.S. workers because it reserved jobs for foreign workers with temporary visas in 2018 and 2019, according to the Justice Department.

In December 2020, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Facebook for setting aside jobs for temporary visa holders through the permanent labor certification program and using recruitment methods to deter U.S. workers from applying for certain positions, CNN reported.

Facebook also settled separately with the Department of Labor over potential recruitment violations through a program that makes jobs available to temporary visa holders. Under the program, companies must make good-faith efforts to recruit U.S. workers for the roles, CNBC reported.

The settlement is historic, according to Kristen Clarke, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It is the “largest fine and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division ever recovered in the 35-year history of the INA’s [Immigration and Nationality Act] anti-discrimination provision,” DOJ said in a statement.

“Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status,” Clarke said.

Facebook will pay a civil penalty of $4.75 million to the government and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of Facebook’s alleged discrimination. In addition, the tech giant must train its employees on the anti-discrimination requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA makes visas available to qualified immigrant investors who will contribute to the economic growth of the U.S. by investing in U.S. businesses and creating jobs for U.S. workers, according to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.


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The Civil Rights Division and Facebook will determine a list of individuals eligible for compensation, a DOJ official said.

The social network had 58,604 full-time employees as of December 2020, up from just 150 people in 2006, according to Statista. Almost 41 percent of Facebook employees in the U.S. are white and 3.9 percent are African American.

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​​“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. PERM is a permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor that allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the U.S. PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management system.

“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 Facebook spokesperson said.