Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

DOJ Seal

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against U.S. workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Details: Facebook will pay a civil penalty of $4.75 million to the United States and up to $9.5 million to "eligible victims of Facebook’s alleged discrimination," the Justice Department said.

  • The lawsuit was part of DOJ's "Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative," which launched in 2017.

Flashback: In December 2020, the department filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that it had discriminated against U.S. workers by giving hiring preference to temporary workers, including those who hold H-1B visas.

  • Many tech companies rely on immigrants on H-1B visas for key positions. Tech giants, like Facebook, have been some of the biggest advocates for the program, Axios' Stef Kight writes.

What they're saying: "Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation's federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement.

  • "Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status," she added.

The other side: "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," a Facebook spokesperson told Axios.

  • "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world."

Go Deeper: Justice Department sues Facebook over favoring H-1B workers

Go deeper