DOJ reaches settlement agreement with Facebook over foreign hiring discrimination claim
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DOJ reaches settlement agreement with Facebook over foreign hiring discrimination claim

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Department of Labor announced Tuesday that they had reached settlement agreements with Facebook over claims that the tech giant had misused the Department of Labor’s Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM) in its recruitment and hiring practices.

The settlement requires Facebook to pay $15 million, which is the largest total ever recovered by the DOJ Civil Rights Division when enforcing anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The claims in the settlement relate to Facebook’s recruitment practices that deterred US workers from applying for jobs the company had privately reserved for foreign national temporary visa holders. The PERM process requires US employers seeking to employ a foreign national to first “test” the labor market through a good-faith open application process for the job in question. Such tests ensure that no US-based worker is qualified and able to take the job before offering the permanent position to a foreign worker. Once the Department of Labor certifies that there are not sufficiently qualified workers able to take the position, the employer is able to obtain a permanent labor certification for the foreign worker.

However, Facebook undercut this process by using recruiting methods that made the process extremely unappealing to US workers, such as requiring applications to be sent in via physical mail. Additionally, Facebook refused to consider qualified US workers for certain positions and focused on only certain temporary visa holders in its internal processes. These actions violated anti-discrimination provisions of the INA, which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of citizenship or immigration status.

The settlement amount includes both a civil penalty and payments to victims of its hiring practices. Furthermore, Facebook will be required to hold anti-discrimination training, expand its hiring practices to be more inclusive of US applicants, and submit to regular audits for future PERM applications.