Facebook settles work discrimination claims that it favoured temporary visa holders

Facebook will pay up to $9.5 million to people that experienced Facebook's alleged discriminatory recruitment process of favouring H1-B and other temporary visa holders.

Facebook has settled two civil claims brought by the US government that accused the company of refusing to hire US workers for certain positions and setting them aside for temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Tuesday.

The first settlement is in relation to a lawsuit raised late last year by the DoJ, which accused Facebook of knowingly favouring H1-B and other temporary visa holders over US-based job applicants for more than 2,600 positions across a near two-year-span.

According to the department's lawsuit, Facebook "used recruiting methods designed to deter US workers from applying to certain positions, such as requiring applications to be submitted by mail only; refused to consider US workers who applied to the positions; and hired only temporary visa holders" for these positions.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), companies are prohibited from intentionally discriminating against US workers because of their citizenship or immigration status.

To settle the DoJ lawsuit, Facebook has agreed to pay up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of Facebook's alleged discrimination, pay a $4.75 million fine, and train its employees on the anti-discrimination requirements within INA.

Facebook will also conduct more expansive advertising and recruitment for its permanent labour certification program (PERM) opportunities, accept electronic resumes or applications from all US workers who apply, and take steps to ensure its processes for filling those positions match its typical recruitment practices as part of the settlement.

It also settled separately with the Department of Labor over potential recruitment violations regarding its recruitment of employees under the PERM program. Under the program, companies must make good-faith efforts to recruit US workers for the roles.

During the audit, the department identified potential regulatory recruitment violations and sought additional information from Facebook in an effort to confirm that Facebook followed all applicable regulatory requirements regarding the posting and advertisement requirements for PERM positions.

As part of that settlement, the Labour department's accusations will be dropped, but Facebook has agreed to conduct additional notice and recruitment for US workers. Facebook will also be subject to ongoing audits to ensure its compliance with applicable regulations.

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