DOJ sues Facebook for discrimination against U.S. workers

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced it has sued Facebook for discrimination against U.S. workers.

The tech giant with tens of thousands of employees, instead of hiring qualified and available U.S. residents for more than 2,600 jobs, or even considering them for jobs, “reserved for temporary visa holders” those positions.

The positions that were the subject of Facebook’s alleged discrimination against U.S. workers offered an average salary of $156,000, the DOJ reported.

The filing alleged, based on the department’s nearly two-year investigation, Facebook deliberately created a hiring system in which it denied “qualified U.S. workers a fair opportunity to learn about and apply for jobs that Facebook instead sought to channel to temporary visa holders Facebook wanted to sponsor for green cards,” the DOJ said.

“The Department of Justice’s lawsuit alleges that Facebook engaged in intentional and widespread violations of the law, by setting aside positions for temporary visa holders instead of considering interested and qualified U.S. workers,” Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division explained. “This lawsuit follows a nearly two-year investigation into Facebook’s practices and a ‘reasonable cause’ determination by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Our message to workers is clear: if companies deny employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice will hold them accountable.”

He continued, “Our message to all employers — including those in the technology sector — is clear: you cannot illegally prefer to recruit, consider, or hire temporary visa holders over U.S. workers.”

The complaint explains that from the start of 2018 through at least September 2019, “Facebook employed tactics that discriminated against U.S. workers and routinely preferred temporary visa holders (including H-1B visa holders) for jobs in connection with the PERM process.”

The complaint also charges that Facebook wanted to channel jobs to temporary visa holders “at the expense of U.S. workers” by failing to advertise the vacancies, and refusing to consider U.S. applicants who actually found out about the jobs and applied.

Part of the evidence comes from Facebook, the DOJ said, which got either no U.S. applicants, or only one U.S. applicant for 99.7% of the jobs in question.

Typically the company gets 100 or more applicants for every job opening.

The federal complaint seeks civil penalties, back pay on behalf of U.S. workers denied employment at Facebook due to the alleged discrimination in favor of temporary visa holders, and other relief to ensure Facebook stops the alleged violations in the future, the DOJ said.


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