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Facebook to pay $14 million to settle claims it discriminated against US workers

(CNN) Facebook will have to pay more than $14 million to settle a case that alleged US workers were denied employment because it reserved jobs for foreign workers with temporary visas in 2018 and 2019, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against Facebook for allegedly reserving jobs for temporary visa holders through the permanent labor certification program and using recruitment methods to deter US workers from applying to certain positions.

Facebook allegedly required applications to be submitted by mail only, refused to consider US workers who applied to the positions, did not advertise positions on their careers website and hired only temporary visa holders. The positions offered an average salary of approximately $156,000, DOJ said when it filed the suit.

Kristen Clarke, the leader of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said the settlement is historic. It is the "largest fine and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division ever recovered in the 35-year history of the INA's [Immigration and Nationality Act] anti-discrimination provision," DOJ said in a statement.

"Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders, because of their citizenship or immigration status," Clarke said.

Facebook will pay a civil penalty of $4.75 million to the US under the Justice Department's settlement and pay up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of Facebook's alleged discrimination, and train its employees on the anti-discrimination requirements of the INA.

A list of individuals eligible for compensation will be determined by the Civil Rights Division and Facebook, a DOJ official said.

The official said the agreement will continue with Facebook for three years during which the Justice Department can select, at its discretion, applications for review.

A Facebook spokesperson said: ​​"While we strongly believe we met the federal government's standards in our permanent labor certification (PERM) practices, we've reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program. These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world, and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence."

CNN's Seth Fiegerman contributed to this report.