Facebook reaches settlement after being accused of discriminating against US workers

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Facebook settled with the US Department of Justice following claims that it discriminated against US workers (via CNBC). The DOJ filed charges against Facebook in December 2020, alleging that Facebook reserved specific positions for temporary visa holders and discouraged US citizens from applying.

A report from the DOJ revealed that it’s fining Facebook $4.75 million in civil penalties and is requiring Facebook to pay up to $9.5 million to any victims of Facebook’s alleged discriminatory practices.

Facebook also reached a separate agreement with the US Department of Labor. During an audit of Facebook’s PERM applications — the program that lets visa holders permanently work in the US — the DOL found potential recruitment violations that it’s going to investigate further.

In addition to paying two fines, Facebook will also have to train employees on the anti-discrimination policies of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as well as widely advertise its PERM positions. It’ll also have to start accepting resumes and applications electronically. It was previously urging applicants to apply by mail for visa-eligible positions. Accepting applications by mail and failing to make visa-eligible positions more visible were just a couple of ways that Facebook allegedly made it harder for US workers to apply.

“Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices,” Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s civil rights division, said in a statement. “Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status.”

Facebook didn’t reply to a request for comment from The Verge, but a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC: “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.”

Facebook is going to have a fairly large bill this month (although it probably isn’t much for a billion-dollar company), as it racked up fines not only from the US government but also from the UK. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority just slapped Facebook with a $70 million penalty for deliberately withholding information about its Giphy acquisition.

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