Facebook agreed to pay a record $ 14.5 million (£ 10.1 million) to settle complaints that it discriminated against US workers in its hiring practices.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) had said the tech giant routinely ignored US workers in favor of foreign ones on temporary visas.
It is the largest sanction of its kind issued by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
Facebook said it “firmly believes” it has met federal government standards.
“Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruiting and hiring practices,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said of the DOJ.
“Companies cannot reserve certain positions for temporary visa holders due to their citizenship or immigration status.”
The US tech sector often uses temporary visas, including H-1B, to bring highly skilled foreign workers to the US. He argues that they are vital, because there aren’t enough American science and engineering graduates to fill the jobs available in areas like artificial intelligence.
But critics say the laws governing temporary visas are lax and make it too easy to replace US workers with cheap foreign labor, which US law prohibits.
In October last year, the Trump administration tightened the requirements for H-1Bs, something some have interpreted as an attempt to discourage foreign workers.
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) said that from January 2018 to September 2019, Facebook had “refused” to recruit, consider or hire US workers for more than 2,600 jobs.
He further stated that Facebook used recruiting methods “designed to dissuade US workers from applying for certain positions”, such as requesting applications to be sent by post only.
The DOJ said this violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against workers because of their citizenship or immigration status.
Those who allegedly were excluded included US citizens, US citizens, asylum, refugees and legal permanent residents, he said.
“Hire the best”
Under the agreement, Facebook will pay a civil penalty of $ 4.75 million to the US government and up to $ 9.5 million to eligible victims of the alleged discrimination.
The tech giant will also be required to conduct “more expansive advertising and recruiting for its job opportunities” and to accept electronic CVs or applications from all US workers who apply.
It will also be subject to ongoing audits by the United States Department of Labor.
“While we strongly believe that we have met federal government standards in our permanent employment certification practices, we have reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
They added that the company intends to “continue to focus on hiring the best builders from both the United States and around the world.”
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