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Facebook to pay $14.25 million to settle suit claiming it discriminated against American workers

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According to the Justice Department, Facebook will pay a $4.75 million fine for discriminating in favour of foreign workers on H1-B visas and against American citizens and permanent residents in a case that turns on its head the common perception of foreigners suffering bias in the US.

According to the Department, Facebook will also pay up to $9.5 million to workers it discriminated against under a settlement reached with it and the Labour Department.

“This settlement is an important step forward and means that US workers will have a fair chance to learn about and apply for Facebook’s job opportunities,” Labour Department Solicitor Seema Nanda said.

The Justice Department said that the fine and the backpay were the largest “that the Division ever has recovered in the 35-year history of the INA’s (Immigration and Naturalisation Act) anti-discrimination provision.”

The voluntary settlement by Facebook brings the Justice Department’s case, which was launched in December during the final days of former President Donald Trump’s administration, to a close.

In 2018, and 2019, the Department charged Facebook with routinely reserving jobs for H1-B visa holders, using recruiting methods designed to discourage US workers from applying for certain positions, and hiring only temporary visa holders.

According to the Department, the foreign workers were hired under the permanent labour certification programme (PERM), which qualified them for permanent resident status or green cards.

“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,” said Kristen Clarke, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General.

Vanita Gupta, Associate Attorney General, is in charge of the Division.

“We’ve reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM programme, which is an important part of our overall immigration programme,” Facebook said, despite the fact that it strongly believed it met the federal government’s standards for the PERM programme.

India accounts for approximately 65% of all H1-B visa holders.

According to the Justice Department, Facebook made it difficult for US citizens and others with the right to work in the United States by requiring them to apply only by mail for those positions, whereas foreigners were allowed to apply electronically.

According to the agreements, Facebook, whose PERM programme was audited by the Labor Department this year, will also be required to post job openings more widely and accept electronic resumes and applications from all applicants.


About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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