Facebook agrees to pay $14 million to settle suit accusing it of discriminating against Americans

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Facebook agrees to pay $14 million to settle lawsuit claiming it prioritized foreign workers over Americans: Biden says Zuckerberg’s tech giant is ‘not above the law’ after ruling

  • Facebook settled lawsuit with Department of Justice agreeing to pay up to $14M
  • Social media giant was accused of discriminating against Americans in favor of hiring foreign workers
  • It also agreed to do more to hire U.S. nationals,according to an announcement on Tuesday
  • ‘Facebook is not above the law,’ said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark


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Facebook will pay as much as $14 million in penalties as part of a settlement with the Justice Department over allegations it discriminated against Americans in favor of hiring foreign workers, officials announced on Tuesday.

The social media giant also agreed to do more to hire U.S. nationals.

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It is the latest political controversy to engulf Facebook, amid lingering allegations that, on the one hand, it has not done enough to stem misinformation and, on the other, that it has censored certain points of view. 

‘Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices,’ said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

‘Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status.’

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook agreed to pay as much as $14 million in fines and backpay as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice. ‘Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices,’ said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke

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The settlement includes a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims who were denied employment.

That makes it the largest civil penalty and back pay award recovered by the civil rights division in its 35-year history of enforcing anti-discrimination rules under the Immigration and Nationality act, according to officials. 

The agreement was announced after the Justice Department sued Facebook at the end of last year for failing to properly advertise more than 2,600 jobs before offering them to foreigners being sponsored by the company for green cards in 2018 and 2019. 

‘Facebook used recruiting methods designed to deter U.S. workers from applying to certain positions, such as requiring applications to be submitted by mail only; refused to consider U.S. workers who applied to the positions; and hired only temporary visa holders,’ said the department.

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In its complaint, Justice Department officials said the company sidestepped its usual hiring process in cases where it wanted to hire green card holders for permanent jobs, violating federal laws requiring employers to demonstrate there were no qualified U.S. workers available for the job. 

Critics of the practise say it drives down wages by hiring workers who will do the job for less pay than Americans.

Tech companies say they use green cards only because they cannot find enough suitably qualified U.S. nationals. 

Facebook said it believed it had met government standards but the settlement allowed it to put the episode behind it. 

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‘These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world, and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence,’ said a spokesman.     

The Biden administration has made clear it will take a tougher line in regulating social media giants.

Critics of Facebook have been promoted to senior positions, including Lina Khan who heads the Federal Trade Commission.

It filed a new antitrust suit against Facebook earlier this year. 

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At the same time, social media companies are under attack from the right.

Conservatives say they are discriminated against and former President Trump has launched a suit accusing Facebook, Twitter and others of censorship after he was booted from the platforms after the Jan. 6 attack on Congress. 

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