Facebook Makes Immigration News: Agrees to Settlement of Millions of Dollars for Allegedly Discriminating Against U.S. Workers in Connection with the PERM Process

In a recent settlement agreement, Facebook agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4.75 million to the United States, and pay up to $9.5 million to eligible victims in response to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice alleging that it intentionally discriminated against U.S. citizen workers by designing a recruitment process that deters U.S. workers from applying, by not considering U.S. workers, and by hiring only temporary visa holders. Facebook also agreed to train its employees on the anti-discrimination requirements of the immigration law, and the company will be required to conduct more expansive advertising and recruitment for its job opportunities for all PERM positions, accept electronic résumés or applications from all U.S. workers who apply, and take other steps to ensure that its recruitment for PERM positions closely matches its standard recruitment practices.

In its lawsuit, the DOJ alleged that in 2018 and through much of 2019, Facebook employed tactics that discriminated against U.S. workers and routinely preferred temporary visa holders (including H-1B visa holders) for jobs in connection with the PERM process. Rather than conducting a genuine search for qualified and available U.S. workers for permanent positions sought by these temporary visa holders, Facebook reserved the positions for temporary visa holders because of their immigration status, according to the complaint. It did so, the DOJ alleged, by failing to advertise those vacancies on its careers website, by requiring applicants to apply by physical mail only, and by refusing to consider any U.S. workers who applied for those positions in contrast to its usual hiring process — which relies on recruitment methods designed to encourage applications by advertising positions on its careers website, accepting electronic applications, and not pre-selecting candidates to be hired based on a candidate’s immigration status.

In its investigation, DOJ concluded that during the relevant period, Facebook received zero or one U.S. worker applicants for 99.7 percent of its PERM positions, while comparable positions at Facebook that were advertised on its careers website during a similar time period typically attracted 100 or more applicants each.


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