FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Dado...

Facebook paying fine to settle U.S. suit on discrimination

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook is paying a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims to resolve the Justice Department’s allegations that it discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreigners with special visas to fill high-paying jobs.

Facebook also agreed in the settlement announced Tuesday to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and to conduct more widespread advertising and recruitment for job opportunities in its permanent labor certification program.

The department’s civil rights division said Facebook “routinely refused” to recruit, consider or hire U.S. workers, a group that includes U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, for positions it had reserved for temporary visa holders. Facebook sponsored the visa holders for “green cards” authorizing them to work permanently.

It is the largest civil penalty and backpay award ever recovered by the civil rights division in the 35-year history of enforcing anti-discrimination rules under the Immigration and Nationality Act, officials said.

“Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation’s civil rights laws,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters in a telephone conference.

The lawsuit was filed against Facebook last December by the Justice Department.

Facebook also agreed in a separate settlement with the Labor Department to expand its recruitment for U.S. workers and to be subject to ongoing audits to ensure compliance.

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