Facebook will hand over $14.25m to the US government and American workers to settle allegations of discriminatory hiring practices.
The Justice Dept last year sued the internet giant accusing it of favoring job candidates who had temporary working papers, such as H-1B visas, over US citizens and permanent residents.
Between January 2018 and September 2019, foreigners whose pending green cards were being sponsored by Facebook were slotted into 2,600 roles at the social network in the United States with an average annual salary of $156,000, according to the DoJ in its lawsuit. Adverts for these positions were not placed on Facebook’s careers website for all to see, applications were not accepted online and had to be submitted by mail, and US jobseekers were not considered at all, prosecutors claimed after a two-year probe.
To settle this case, the antisocial network will cough up $4.75m in civil penalties to the federal government and $9.5m to US workers who were unfairly snubbed. As part of this settlement, Facebook also promised to train its recruitment teams to root out any discrimination, and advertise roles to and accept applications from candidates regardless if they have a temporary or permanent right to live and work in the US.
“Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
“Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status. This settlement reflects the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to holding employers accountable and eradicating discriminatory employment practices.”
The settlement, the DoJ said, is “the largest fine and monetary award that the [Civil Rights] Division ever has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision.” Facebook recorded a net income of $29.15bn in 2020, so that $14.25m is effectively just over four hours of annual profit.
The Register has asked Facebook for comment, and it’s apparently not feeling very social. ®