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Facebook agrees to settle US discrimination lawsuit by paying fine

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 US workers in favour 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 labour certification programme.

The department’s civil rights division said Facebook “routinely refused” to recruit, consider or hire US workers, a group that includes US 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” authorising 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 US workers and to be subject to ongoing audits to ensure compliance.

Associated Press