Facebook to pay up to $14.25 mln to settle U.S. employment discrimination claims

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A Fb emblem is displayed on a smartphone on this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Fb Inc has agreed to pay as much as $14.25 million to settle civil claims by the U.S. authorities that the social media firm discriminated towards American employees and violated federal recruitment guidelines, U.S. officers stated on Tuesday.

The 2 associated settlements have been introduced by the Justice Division and Labor Division and confirmed by Fb. The Justice Division final December accusing Fb of giving hiring preferences to momentary employees together with those that maintain H-1B visas that allow corporations quickly make use of overseas employees in sure specialty occupations. Such visas are extensively utilized by tech corporations.

Kristen Clarke, assistant U.S. lawyer basic for the Justice Division’s Civil Rights Division, known as the settlement with Fb historic.

“It represents by far the most important civil penalty the Civil Rights Division has ever recovered within the 35-year historical past of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision,” Clarke stated in a name with reporters, referring to a key U.S. immigration regulation that bars discrimination towards employees due to their citizenship or immigration standing.

The case centered on Fb’s use of the so-called everlasting labor certification, known as the PERM program.

The U.S. authorities stated that Fb refused to recruit or rent American employees for jobs that had been reserved for momentary visa holders below the PERM program. It additionally accused Fb of “potential regulatory recruitment violations.”

Fb can pay a civil penalty below the settlement of $4.75 million, plus as much as $9.5 million to eligible victims of what the federal government known as discriminatory hiring practices.

“Whereas we strongly imagine we met the federal authorities’s requirements in our everlasting labor certification (PERM) practices, we have reached agreements to finish the continued litigation and transfer ahead with our PERM program,” a Fb spokesperson stated, including that the corporate intends to “proceed our give attention to hiring the perfect builders from each the U.S. and world wide.”

The settlements come at a time when Fb is going through growing U.S. authorities scrutiny over different enterprise practices.

Fb this month from U.S. lawmakers after former firm worker and whistleblower accused it of pushing for increased income whereas being cavalier about consumer security. Haugen has turned over hundreds of paperwork to congressional investigators amid issues that Fb has harmed kids’s psychological well being and has stoked societal divisions.

The corporate has denied any wrongdoing.

In Tuesday’s settlements, the Justice Division stated that Fb used recruitment practices designed to discourage U.S. employees equivalent to requiring purposes to be submitted solely by mail, refusing to contemplate American employees who utilized for positions and hiring solely momentary visa holders.

The Labor Division this yr carried out audits of Fb’s pending PERM purposes and uncovered different issues in regards to the firm’s recruitment efforts.

“Fb is just not above the regulation,” U.S. Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda instructed reporters, including that the Labor Division is “dedicated to making sure that the PERM course of is just not misused by employers – no matter their measurement and attain.”

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Modifying by Will Dunham

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