Facebook settles with Justice Department over H-1B hiring practices

The company will pay a $4.75 million fine to the US government.

s-cphoto via Getty Images

Facebook has reached separate settlements with the Department of Justice and Department of Labor over its hiring practices related to foreign workers. The settlements stem from allegations the Trump administration brought against Facebook in late 2020. At the time, the DoJ said the company had “inadequately advertised” at least 2,600 positions between 2018 and 2019 that were eventually filled by workers on H-1B visas.

The company allegedly employed a recruitment process that was intentionally designed to dissuade US workers from applying for positions it had set aside for temporary visa holders. Under the DoJ settlement, Facebook will pay $4.75 million to the federal government and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims.

​​“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," a spokesperson for Facebook said. "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the US and around the world, and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence.”

The fines, while a drop in the ocean for a company like Facebook, represent the largest such penalties the Department of Justice has enforced as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act. More significantly, they're another piece of bad news for a company that has been mired in it in recent weeks. At the start of October, whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress how Facebook’s algorithms have hampered its efforts to slow misinformation on its platforms. The company has also faced increasing scrutiny over its efforts to downplay internal research that shows its platforms can be harmful to some young users.

Update 5:03PM ET: Added comment from Facebook.